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November 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Rick Adair: “Felix is going to get better”

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Just got off the phone with Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair, who said Felix Hernandez should be proud of what he accomplished this season. Hernandez finished a distant second to Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals in Cy Young Award voting announced today.
“We’re all extremely proud of him and not just from a performance standpoint,” Adair said. “As the season went on, he also showed some leadership that the team needed.
“Felix is going to get better,” Adair said. “We’re excited about it. I just think overall, he’s going to become more efficient. His stuff is so good and has so much movement, that at times it causes him to struggle with his command. But as I said, as he moves forward, i think he’s going to have better command and become more efficient.”
Adair felt Greinke had a good year and accepts that voters felt he was deserved of the award. But he also said Hernandez had a year that could be considered as good if not better.
The difference may have been Greinke’s fast start versus that of Hernandez, who didn’t really get going until late May.
Adair attributed the difference to Hernandez’s “willingness to make some adjustments and just take things a little more serious.”
Hernandez was deadly serious towards season’s end. Since June, he failed to go seven innings just four times. A total of 24 of his final 25 starts were so-called “quality starts” of at least six innings with three earned runs or fewer allowed.
Greinke needed a season for the ages to have a shot at beating Hernandez. That’s what he produced. In the end, it doesn’t diminish Hernandez at all. The interesting thing will be to see which of these two pitchers goes on to have the better career.

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