The real winner of Wednesday's Venezuela-USA World Baseball Cla sic game wasn't the U.S., or international baseball, but the Mariners.Seattle has to feel terrific about what it saw from ace Felix Hernandez and new left-handed starter Drew Smyly. The two combined to allow one run (unearned because of Smyly's throwing error) and six hits over 9 2/3 innings against high-quality hitters.RIVERA: Watching the WBC? If not, you should beSmyly struck out his final six batters in a Robinson Chirinos Jersey
row, capped by a 94 mph fastballpast Carlos Gonzalez, in his 4 2/3-inning stint. He recorded eight Ks in just 61 pitches. King Felix, meanwhile, threw five shutout frames, also on 61 pitches. Neither pitcher walked a batter.Hernandez gave the M's a brief scare in the first when he appeared to tweak his groin or hip while fielding a grounder. He stayed in after a visit by the Ryan Rua Jersey
trainer and proceeded to dominate.The fact both pitchers fared so well in a real-game setting in mid-March should be comforting to manager Scott Servais and the rest of the M's organization, which is win-now mode while King Felix still has some milesleft on his arm.MORE: Men's Texas Rangers Team Scarlet Jersey
M's fun video proves unwritten rules are stupidHernandez, who will turn 31 in April, is coming off his worst season in a decade, one in which he was limited to 25 starts because of a calf injury. He has logged 2,415 2/3 regular-season innings in his career, and his velocity is dropping. He was in the low 90s with his heater Wednesday but had excellent movement on his cutter and changeup.Smyly, 27, is e sentially Seattle's replacement for Taijuan Walker, who was dealt to the Diamondbacks for shortstop Jean Segura in the offseason. Smyly came over from the Rays in January Rangers Cool Base Custom Red Jersey
in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and two minor leaguers.In Smyly, Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto has a guy with a little something to prove. Smyly's ERA ballooned to 4.88 last season, by far his career-worst. That number was inflated by 32 home runs allowed in 30 starts. Pitching in Safeco Fieldwill help get that Jurickson Profar Jersey
total down.FANTASY: Tips for a pitching-heavy strategyThe rest of the Seattle rotation includes Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Yovani Gallardo, all of whomhave had recent injury i sues. Even with depth options Ariel Miranda and Chris Heston around, the M's will be leaning on Hernandez and Smyly to have big seasons.Both showed Wednesday night in the U.S.'s eventual 4-2 victory they're capable in King Felix's case, still capable of meeting thechallenge.