Felix Hernandez’s dominant stretch has already entered the record books, but he’s more concerned with helping the Seattle Mariners win.
He’s only done that once in his last five visits to Progressive Field.
Hernandez takes the mound looking to surpass a 43-year-old record Wednesday night when the Mariners face the sputtering Cleveland Indians.
Hernandez (11-2, 1.99 ERA) is in the midst of another brilliant season, ranking among the league leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts (173). He’s put together one of the best stretches in recent memory, going 7-1 with a 1.36 ERA over his last 13 starts. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer while completing at least seven innings each time to match Tom Seaver’s major league record set with the New York Mets in 1971.
He matched that run Friday, allowing one run in seven innings with 10 strikeouts in a 2-1 loss in 10 to Baltimore.
"It doesn’t matter, because we lost," Hernandez told MLB’s official website. "It’s all about the team. It’s about winning. … It means a lot for myself, but I don’t care about myself. I just care about the team."
The Mariners (55-51) opened a six-game road trip with a 5-2 victory Tuesday over the Indians, as Dustin Ackley had three hits and two RBIs to back Hisashi Iwakuma’s strong start.
Having Hernandez on the mound would seem to give Seattle an excellent chance at consecutive wins, but he’s 1-4 with a 5.27 ERA in his last five games in Cleveland. He’s lost his last two starts there while surrendering 14 runs and 18 hits in 8 2-3 innings.
The 2010 AL Cy Young winner, however, dominated the Indians at home June 29, allowing one hit with nine strikeouts in eight innings of a 3-0 victory.
David Murphy is batting .308 with three homers and six doubles in 78 at-bats against the Seattle ace while Michael Brantley is 8 for 22 (.364) with a home run.
The Indians (52-54) have dropped seven of nine, but will counter with emerging ace Corey Kluber (10-6, 2.77), who is trying to match his career high in wins set last year. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 32 innings in four starts this month, but his latest may have been the best of his career.
Kluber carried a perfect game into the seventh inning Thursday at Kansas City, but left after allowing one unearned run and two hits with 10 strikeouts in nine innings of a 2-1 loss in 14.
"I wish we’d had some runs so we could sit back and really enjoy it, because that was special," manager Terry Francona said. "You can use all the adjectives you want. He had dominating stuff."
Kluber is 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA over his last 13 home starts, dating to last year.
He’ll have to contend with the hot-hitting Ackley, who owns a .444 average in 11 games since the All-Star break. The left fielder is 8 for 14 with three doubles over the past three contests.
Ackley is a .326 hitter with seven RBIs and as many runs in 10 games in Cleveland.
Kyle Seager, who went 2 for 5 with a triple in the series opener, owns a .398 overall average against the Indians, going 8 for 16 in four meetings this year.