Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Thursday August 5th.
Yesterday, David Price
turned in 7 very good innings for the Rays, but was losing for most of the game before a ninth inning rally by his teammates bailed him out with a no decision.
No Decision: David Price (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1.00 WHIP)
The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 93-76-55, 3.82 ERA (594 ER in 1399.1 IP)
Today in the 606, a young Rangers hurler who was red-hot in his return from injury in June leads his AL West-leading squad against the undisputed ace of the bottom-dwelling Seattle Mariners.
RHP Tommy Hunter - TEX (8-1, 3.31 ERA) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez - SEA (7-8, 2.90 ERA)
Tommy Hunter's red-hot 2010 season came to an abrupt halt on July 30th, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim touched him for 8 runs in just 3 innings of work, ballooning his season ERA a full run, from 2.31 to 3.31, and giving him his first loss of the year. Due to injury, Hunter didn't make his first start of 2010 until June 5th, but his 8-0 record in his first 10 starts surprised most of baseball, despite the success he showed in 2009. In 19 starts last season, Hunter was 9-6 with a 4.10 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, but his low strikeout numbers (5.1 K/9 in 2009) seemed to indicate that his success was somewhat illusory. He's certainly put a lot of detractors to rest this season, but due to a lack of dominant stuff, the 24 year-old Indiana native will need to continually prove himself. Armed with a 90 mile-per-hour fastball, a similar speed sharp cutter, a sweeping curveball, and an occasional changeup, Hunter has a nice repertoire to frustrate hitters, though he must locate well to do so. He won his only start against Seattle this season back on June 10th, going 6 innings and allowing just 2 earned runs, 3 walks, and 5 hits, with 5 strikeouts. In 5 career starts against the M's, he's 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.38 WHIP and with the powerful Texas lineup on his side, he may be ready to start another winning streak.
Felix Hernandez's 7-8 season record looks dismal and is clearly a far cry from his 19-5 mark in 34 starts last season, but he's very quietly having a fine season outside of the win-loss column. He enters play on Thursday with a 2.90 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, pretty close to the 2.49 and 1.14 marks he finished with in 2009. Taking the mound for an underachieving and offensively lacking Mariners squad has likely been frustrating for the ace hurler, but he's managed to keep his cool and put up big inning and strikeout totals yet again. His 167.2 innings, 149 strikeouts, and 5 complete games rank among the American League leaders, and he's a powerful force every time he takes the hill. Some may forget that Hernandez broke in with Seattle at the age of 19 back in 2005, so at his current age of 24 he may still be improving as a player. He has struggled against Texas this year, going 0-2 with 14 earned runs and 23 hits allowed in 17.1 innings of work, but he is 5-3 with a 2.58 ERA at home this season.
Final Prediction: Felix Hernandez