Felix Hernandez became just the eighth pitcher in baseball history to record his 1,800th strikeout before turning 29 years old on Sunday by getting Evan Longoria swinging in the third inning. Hernandez joined Sam McDowell, Walter Johnson, Bert Blyleven, Don Drysdale, Bob Feller, Dwight Gooden and Pedro Martinez on that list and finished with 15 strikeouts on the day.
Hernandez handed the ball off to Yoervis Medina after the seventh inning in a 0-0 tie and the Mariners went on to win 5-0 over Tampa Bay. Endy Chavez singled home Brad Miller in the top of the ninth with two outs with Grant Balfour on the mound, James Jones tripled in two more runs, and Kyle Seager doubled to score two more on Balfour. Seattle's Dominic Leone and Charlie Furbush came in and closed out the game for the win.
Fifteen strikeouts is the most Hernandez has ever had in a single game. His previous high was 13, which he has posted three times in his career. Hernandez tied Jon Lester for the most strikeouts in a game this season. The Boston lefty whiffed 15 against Oakland on May 3 this year.
Hernandez is on pace to put together his sixth consecutive 200-inning, 200-strikeout season, and based on some of the company he's keeping in the record books, he's on pace for the Hall of Fame as well. Even if King Felix's effectiveness dips or plateaus in his 30s, he has been so impressive through his first 10 seasons in the majors that it might not matter. However, the most impressive thing about him is that he might be getting better -- if that's even possible.