Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez seemed quite bummed out about his most recent appearance, Thursday night against the Blue Jays. He lost his third straight start and, statistically, it was a dud: Seven earned runs allowed and 10 hits over four innings.
''That was terrible right there,'' a frustrated Hernandez said.
But the M's enjoyed one moment of clarity, and Hernandez helped by getting out of the way. It came in the fourth inning when infielder Kyle Seager did the ol' fake-to-first, throw-to-third play — only he wasn't on the mound, obviously — and his deception actually worked.
With one out and Rajai Davis at second, Jeff Mathis dropped down a drag bunt between third and the pitcher's mound. Hernandez smartly let the ball go (he might have been called off), and Seager picked it up and did a full fake throw to first base as Davis rounded third. Meanwhile, Brendan Ryan sneaked up behind Davis and waited at the bag. Seager barely broke stride and did a 180-degree turn and overhand flip to third. Davis, on his knees, was a dead duck. Ryan tagged him for the second out.
It was almost poetry, it was so good. And now, for the Mariners, the bad: Toronto went on to score five runs in the inning anyway, keying an 8-3 victory. However, in case anyone hadn't noticed, the Mariners have been playing much better in the second half. They have an outside chance to finish at .500. And Seager has been one of their better players, hitting .256/.317/.420 with 18 homers, 28 doubles and 13 stolen bases. Adjusted for Safeco Field, he has a 110 OPS+. By defensive metrics, he's also been a slightly above-average fielder. And he's obviously playing his position smartly.
See, King Felix? It's not all bad.
Finally, to honor Kyle Seager, let's play some Seger: