Felix Hernandez was perfect Wednesday, and that might have been the second biggest story in the game to the PED suspension of Melky Cabrera. What a shame.
FELIX HERNANDEZ IS PERFECT
Twenty seven up, 27 down. That’s what happened when Felix Hernandez took the hill yesterday for the Mariners as he pitched the 23rd perfect games in big league history. Some facts about the outing.
With 23 in the history of the game, we get one above every give years (the first was thrown back in 1904 by none other than Cy Young himself). Amazingly, this was the third this season (Matt Cain and Phil Humber), the first time three have been thrown in one season. Moreover, there have been six thrown since 2009 (Dallas Braden, Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay tossed the others).
The Rays, the victims yet again, must be getting used to this. For the fourth time since 2009 they were no-hit. No other team in baseball has been no-hit more than once in that time.
As for King Felix, he now owns a 1.56 ERA over his last 11 starts. He’s also thrown four complete games this season, all of which have been shutouts, an all have come in his last four starts.
So much for those early season worries about his lack of velocity.
MELKY CABRERA SUSPENDED 50 GAMES
Here’s what’ we know.
(1) Melky Cabrera was given a 50-game suspension for testing positive for PED use (testosterone). Cabrera had this to say:
“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.â
(2) The appeals process has already occurred (Cabrera had been told of the positive test around the All-Star break). The suspension will not be reduced.
(3) The Giants have 45 games left to be played meaning that Cabrera would also have to sit out the first four games of the playoffs, if the Giants make it to the second season (his suspension was official yesterday before the Giants game).
(4) Gregor Blanco will be inserted into the every day lineup. After hitting .315 with 20 runs scored in May, Blanco hit .218 in June, .197 in July and started out August 0-for-12. He’s certainly got speed, he’s swiped 19 bases on the year, but he is devoid of power so he needs to bring that average up substantially from where it currently is (.236) or he just isn’t going to be worth anything in a mixed league.
As for Cabrera…
He will end the year hitting .346 with 11 homers, 60 RBIs, 84 runs scored and 13 steals in 113 games. With this suspension will come the inevitable guesswork about Cabrera.
From 2006-2010 he never hit more than 13 homers and averaged eight homers a year. He hit 18 last year and had 11 this year. Was that the result of a natural maturity and outgrowth of skill or something else?
A .267 hitter from 2006-10, Cabrera hit .305 last year and .346 this year. That’s a massive increase.
From 2006-10 his SLG was .379. His OBP this year was .390 and his SLG since the start of last season is .489. That’s another massive increase.
Look, I don’t know when he started doing PED’s but the evidence certainly would seem to indicate that something dramatic occurred for Cabrera last year as he went from being a decent 5th outfielder in fantasy to an elite option, seemingly overnight. With his failed test we seemingly have a readily available answer as to what may have occurred. Only Cabrera knows the truth, but we all know this: a free agent after the year, Cabrera has cost himself untold millions of dollars.
There would seem to be no chance he would be brought back to the Giants who have already had their fill of PED crapola with Barry Bonds.
Cabrera will always be looked at, fairly or not, as a player who only achieved stardom because he cheated.
Shame on you Melky Cabrera.
Emilio Bonifacio is out with that thumb injury, but he had two hits, an RBI and two runs scored in his first rehab game at High-A Jupiter Wednesday. He is hopeful/expecting to return to action Sunday, the first day he’s eligible, quite the change from when the injury occurred (there were fears that he would miss the rest of the season). He may only be hitting .261 on the year with one homer and 11 RBIs, how pathetic is that in 234 at-bats?, but he has that mouth watering speed that has led to 30 thefts in just 61 games played. Get ready to activate the multi-position eligible wheels.
Gotta give some credit to Eric Chavez who has been filling in for the injured Alex Rodriguez. Chavez has looked like the Eric Chavez that used to terrorize pitchers five years ago before injuries set in. Oh he’s still in an out of the lineup with injuries, but the guy is hitting .343 with six homers over his last 24 games played. I know, impressive. He’s also hitting .307 at home and .300 on the road this season. He’s also on a 30 homer pace with 13 in 201 at-bats. He hasn’t hit lefties at all with three hits in 21 at-bats, but he’s actually been an impressive AL-only league option, and with the way he has gone the past month he’s a legit option right now as a corner infield play in mixed leagues.
Shin-Soo Choo hit .259 last year with eight homers in a disappointing/abbreviated season. Coming into this season views were a bit mixed about what to expect with the Indians outfielder. He started off horribly hitting .237 without a homer in April, and panic began to set in. He had lost it. His days of being an elite outfielder were over. Not so fast. Choo rebounded to hit .298 from May through July, and all was good with the world. Well, is it time to panic again since Choo is hitting just .248 over his last 33 games and .259 in August? No. If you take into account his overall effort, it’s not bad at all. He’s still within hailing distance of a 20/20 effort, he has 14 homers and 13 steals, and that .284 batting average is only a hot week below his career .290 mark. He’s not likely to get to his .300, 20/20 pace of 2009 and 2010, but he’s still had a nice season given that he wasn’t overly expensive on draft day because of his down 2011 effort.
David Ortiz (Achilles) is not expected to be activated from the DL by the end of the week. He hasn’t done any baseball related things since last Saturday, and this is starting to be a very worrisome position since the team thought he might be able to return to action last weekend. Without discernible progress it’s unclear when we should expect the slugger to be back in action. With the way things are going, and I’m just speculating here, it might not be until September.
CC Sabathia threw off the mound Thursday and said his elbow feels fine. He should be ready to return to the Yankees rotation on August 24th.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 7-10 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.