(Sorry for the delay, thought it posted earlier, but there was some reason it didn’t)
When you need a win after a loss, you turn to Felix Hernandez. And Ronny Cedeno?
Obviously, Felix is a guy you think can turn things around after a loss.
Because he’s done it all season long. Of all the numbers that Hernandez has put up thus far, and there are some impressive ones …
&bull a 10-3 record, a 2.51 ERA
&bull a 6-0 record over his last 10 starts with a 1.30 ERA
&bull a scoreless streak of 22 innings
&bull throwing at least seven innings in his last eight starts.
Perhaps the most impressive number is that Hernandez is 9-2 in starting games following a Mariners loss.
"That’s an ace, that’s an All-Star," Wakamatsu said.
The stat was a surprise to Felix.
"It’s good," he said. "I didn’t even know about that."
How good is Felix? Ask one of his teammates, who used to have to face him.
"Not very fun," Hannahan summed up the experience. "I’m very happy I won’t have to face him anymore."
Instead, Hannahan stood and watched Cleveland hitters go through what he used to.
"He throws three pitches for strikes anytime he wants to and he throws 97 mph with sink," Hannahan said. "Nothing the guy throws is straight. You think you’re in a hitters count next thing here comes a changeup or a curveball."
You expect Felix to be good, but do you really expect Ronny Cedeno to be the offensive star.
"The key to the offense was Ronny Cedeno," Wakamatsu said. "What he’s done over the last couple of weeks has really helped this ball club both offensively and defensively. For him to get two two-out RBIs was obviously special."
When asked about his struggles, Cedeno still thought he was going to turn it around.
"It’s going to happen," he said. "When you’re struggling, there’s no sense get down. The big part is consistency. That’s what I’m looking for."
Now that he’s getting consistent playing time with the trade of Yuniesky Betancourt, both Cedeno and Wakamatsu believe better plate production will come with it.
"I think it’s timing," Cedeno said. "I’m trying to get my timing back. When you see more pitches, you get your timing back. When you play every day, you feel more comfortable. You feel relaxed."
Wakamatsu said the mentality for Cedeno now that he’s a starter is completely different.
"As a bench player, you’re constantly reminded of that number, and you feel you can never get over it," Wakamatsu said of Cedeno’s sub-.200 batting average. "When you’re trying to make up an average as low as his was, you have a tendency to try to get two hits in one at-bat. That’s the pressure, and I think that’s eased a little bit now that he’s getting the starting nod."
Cedeno finished the night 2-for-4, narrowly missing out on a third hit and raised his batting average to .180.
Perhaps no person was happier than his the starting pitcher and a fellow Venezuelan, Felix, who Cedeno, calls “his best friend on the team.”
"It’s good to see. He’s been really struggling, but he’s a great player," Hernandez said. "At shortstop he’s unbelievable."
When Cedeno was struggling to keep his batting average over .100, Hernandez was in his ear daily with advice and encouragement.
"I just told him to just relax and don’t put pressure on yourself," Hernandez said. "Just act like you do at shortstop. When you’re at shortstop you feel good, but when you go to home plate just relax your mind and go out and hit."