Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez hasn’t exactly been “King Felix” lately, with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.435 WHIP through 23 starts this season. While still just 32, the former ace has been through 13 years of pro baseball — all with the Mariners — and could be reaching that point where every athlete eventually succumbs to father time.
Even with his numbers ballooning, Hernandez has still shown flashes of his former Cy Young winning and six-time All-Star self. On Tuesday night against the hapless Texas Rangers, Hernandez struck out fellow baseball veteran Adrian Beltre with a nasty 78-mph breaking ball.
Beltre’s last-minute “emergency hack” with an 0-2 count was more than King Felix could handle, as he immediately broke out in laughter and pointed Beltre back to the dugout.
Before you fire up your “unwritten rules” comments, you should be aware that these two have a history of friendly mocking. They were teammates in Seattle for five years and remain close friends. Back in 2012, they spent a game trash talking each other with every at bat. In 2015, the fun continued as Felix mockingly threw the ball back at Beltre after the Rangers infielder hit a line drive back to mound.
Over two long, remarkable careers, Hernandez has gotten the better of his pal. Beltre has just 13 hits in 70 plate appearances against Felix, with 10 walks and only a single home run, for a lowly .224 average.