Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, who tossed the 23rd perfect game in Major League history on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, has been named American League Player of the Week for the period ending August 19th. The announcement was made earlier this afternoon on MLB Network.
Hernandez became the first Mariners hurler ever to toss a perfect game, striking out 12 batters to dispatch the Rays, 1-0, at Safeco Field. It was the fourth no-hitter in the team’s 35-year history, joining Chris Bosio (April 22, 1993 vs. Boston) and Randy Johnson (June 2, 1990 vs. Detroit) as the only individuals to record no-hitters. Earlier this season, teammate Kevin Millwood and five Seattle relievers combined to no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers, 1-0. With the Mariners’ combined no-hit effort on June 8th and Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber’s perfect game against Seattle on April 21st, Safeco Field has now been the site of three no-hitters this season, becoming the first venue since Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis Browns) in 1917 to host a trio of no-hitters in the same year.
Additionally, it became the first ballpark to see two perfect games in the same season and joins old Yankee Stadium (3), Dodger Stadium (2) and Oakland Coliseum (2) as the only venues to host multiple perfect games in their histories.
At 26 years, 129 days old, the Venezuelan native became the youngest pitcher to throw a perfect game since Mike Witt (24 years, 72 days) in 1984 and joined Dennis Martinez (Nicaragua) as the only foreign-born pitchers to complete perfect games. With the victory, the eight-year veteran improved to 11-5 on the season and extended a personal winning streak to seven games, going 7-0 with a 1.58 ERA, four shutouts, 14 walks and 83 strikeouts over his last 11 starts dating back to June 23rd. Wednesday’s performance was the third 1-0 shutout for Hernandez this season, establishing a new Mariners single-season record and tying the club’s career record. He is the first pitcher since Bob Ojeda of the New York Mets in 1988 to record three 1-0 shutouts in a year. The 2010 A.L. Cy Young Award winner’s four shutouts lead the league, and he ranks second in innings pitched (180.0), is tied for second in complete games and is third in strikeouts (174) and ERA (2.60). This is Felix’s first career Player of the Week honor.
Other noteworthy performances last week included New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher (.370, 4 HR, 11 RBI) and righthander Hiroki Kuroda (2-0, 0.53 ERA, 17.0 IP, shutout vs. Texas on August 14th); Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Albert Pujols (.320, 4 HR, 9 RBI); Baltimore Orioles infielder Mark Reynolds (.400, 3 HR, 7 RBI); Texas Rangers outfielder David Murphy (.385, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI); and Tampa Bay Rays infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist (.348, 2 HR, 6 RBI). In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Felix Hernandez will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.