Felix Hernandez is off to the All-Star Game, joining Ichiro as the lone Mariners selected.
Hernandez was anything but a shoo-in for the AL team when May drew to a close. But his last seven or eight outings, earning him Pitcher of the Month honors for June, obviously swung things in his favor. He went 3-0 in June with an 0.94 ERA and held opponents to a .183 batting average.
Ichiro is enjoying one of the most productive seasons of his career in terms of batting average, power and hits totals. He’s on-pace to finish the season with a .365 average, an .889 on-base-plus slugging percentage and 245 hits.
The Mariners had a couple of others in the running, including Russell Branyan, a guy who would have been a natural for the Home Run Derby — having already clubbed 20, most of the tape-measure variety. Branyan might arguably be the most deserving Mariner to go, other than Ichiro. But he isn’t.
Neither is David Aardsma, who has been on a fantastic roll, striking out 20 of the 40 batters he faced in June. But he only became the full-time closer at the start of June and his numbers — while red hot lately — were not among the best at the closer’s spot over the entire season as a whole.
There had also been some sentimental support for sending Ken Griffey Jr., but he wasn’t selected.