I hope I didn’t just jinx the everloving out of him with this post.
Last night, Felix Hernandez really rammed one down the throats of the New York Yankees. 7 innings, 2 runs, 8 strikeouts, 0 walks. After an offensive explosion sealed the deal, King Felix ran his record to 8-1, with the majority of four months left to play.
This is arguably the best Mariners team Felix has ever played on. It might not shake out that way when all is said and done, but right now I’d put 2014 over the other two times the Mariners have finished over .500 while Felix has worn the uniform. This bodes well for his Cy Young chances, though as we know from 2010, a good team doesn’t necessarily guarantee post-season awards.
Right now, with 2.57, Felix has the 6th-best ERA in the American League. I know most people don’t like using ERA as a measurement for individual pitching performance, but let’s face it: most of the baseball writers still do. He’s got a couple of Oakland starters ahead of him, Mark Buehrle somehow, and a couple Japanese phenoms in Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka at the top. For all intents and purposes, at the 1/3 mark of the season, you can probably just lop off all the other American League pitchers at this point (unless and until someone from below makes a surge, and/or one of these top six suffers a fall from grace – count on both happening).
Felix is always going to be in consideration because he’s a huge name, he is always near the top in innings pitched and strikeouts, and he’s usually the only beacon of hope for an otherwise moribund franchise. However, with the Mariners seemingly in contention this year, he’s got another ace up his sleeve: wins.
Don’t tell me wins don’t matter, because I’ll point out dozens of old fogeys out there who still use them as a metric. Old fogeys who matter. Old fogeys who get to determine award winners like the Cy Young. Likewise, if Felix is on a TEAM that’s winning, then you’d like to think that’s a team getting more national coverage than they would otherwise. If the Mariners can somehow stay in the AL West race into September, it could bode really well for Felix’s chances. Of course, he’ll still have to perform.
It’s still early, so I won’t take up too much of your time. Also, I don’t want to make this a big deal, but I’d like to check in with the Felix Hernandez Cy Young hopes every several weeks or so. Right now, we can consider Felix “in the hunt”. It’s exciting to see where he’ll be in another six weeks or so.