... His fall from grace, or his fall from other-dimensional status, at least...
Q: So the only sanctuary for my sanity right now is that Felix must be tipping his pitches.
Q: Yeah, what's up with Felix getting knocked around three starts in a row?
A. What's up is that Felix' Rock 'n Roll' Fantasy got him overconfident and he began to think of himself as bulletproof. Point of order: after two innings tonight he'd thrown 23 strikes and 6 balls. Here's his strike zone plot.
Bill Krueger, who is a very informative pitching analyst, one with more overall light bulbs on than you or I, jumped on the postgame and instantly delivered the goods. "Felix is a very confident pitcher. He believes in his pitches ... against aggressive teams like Toronto, he's got to go off the plate, over their heads, take advantage of their approach." The Oakland A's were similarly stocked with razor-sharp lefty batters just waiting for strikes they knew they were going to get.
Krueger accurately supplied, "He's making what I call a lot of arm-side mistakes." In other words, Felix has a tendency to kind of spin/sail the ball out-and-over against LH. Against lefties, Felix' dumb little two-seam fastball -- his only Achilles' heel -- fades right out onto the outer 1/3 of the plate and they are CHEATING onto that location.
As a side point, the Jays' 40-homer righty, Edwin Encarnacion, happens to have a rare hot zone for a RH: he likes the ball right on his hands. He leans back in 1970's style, swwaaaaats the bat through real quick and barrels it up. He took Carter Capps deep too in the same game - 15 feet foul. Gorgeous snake-fast bat.
Felix' changeup dropped right into the hot zone and we were treated to the unpossible sight of a Felix Hernandez dry spitter getting launched, what was it, 440 feet?
Great hitter, great pitcher, Hitter guessed exactly right, Pitcher threw a great pitch but right where Hitter likes it.... video game battle of the titans. Boom time.
Q. Is the gift shop open? Time for a bumper sticker.
A. Felix is getting way too much of the plate. He lost his sense of danger.
Q. Oh. For sure?
A. The ball-strike count alone told you that, if Krueger didn't also, and if the SSI CF camera isn't trustworthy, but here's a strike zone plot. Actually, two: first one is Toronto, second one is from the Tampa game.
is fastball gains and gains as we go along here. Tonight he had 14 swing-throughs in 90 pitches. He's just letting them guess and cheat and for a couple games, they've guessed too many right.
To be honest, it was a "B" game by his standards -- the changeup rose 1.5 inches cf. to vacuum, rather than falling -2 inches vs. vacuum, and the slider had about the same mushiness. The fastball cut to about 5" rather than 2-3". But it was the same old Felix; he has the lesser break about 40% of the time. Nobody runs a 0+ ERA. He made it look automatic for two months there, but actually the gap between hero and zero is a lot smaller than we think it is.
Good news is: this is nothing more than a hiccup. Guaranteed. And 2013 figures to be Felix' best season.
Dr. D would like to know, however, whether somebody at Toronto has a camera. Have often wondered whether they have the pitches there.