Call me a little nuts, but I see barely any difference between the season Felix Hernandez is having this year versus last.
If anything, he’s a bit better now than he was at this point in 2009. I’m not talking about mere stats. More about his ability to lock down a game. Here’s the game story for tomorrow’s paper.
And that means, with no Zack Greinke looking heads and tails better than the field — no, not even Cliff Lee looks as good as that — Hernandez may have a shot at the Cy Young.
This was Hernandez’s fourth outing of nine innings in his last five starts. His only miss was a seven-inning outing against Kansas City earlier this week.
The start before that was the 8 2/3 innings in San Diego. He’s gone eight inningsor more in seven of his last nine starts. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven straight outings and nine of the last 10.
Yeah, he’s on quite a roll.
Since May 13, when he got his ERA below 4.00 for the first time, he’s lowered it a full run from 3.88 to 2.88.
Last year, it was on May 14 that he got his ERA below 4.00 for the first time to 3.53. He then lowered it to 2.53 on July 9.
Yes, a distinct pattern.
Hernandez is having a strikingly similar season this year that he did last, with a slightly higher ERA because the defense behind him has been a little worse than in 2009.
One big difference is, Hernandez didn’t post a complete game last year until June 16. His next one didn’t come until Sept. 18.
This year, he’s got four — two behind former teammate Lee.
We’ll see whether Lee can keep up the roll he’s been on playing down in Texas. He got a complete game tonight, but surrendered five runs in a loss.
Hernandez threw 238 innings last year and is on pace for 255 in 2010. In strikeouts, he’s on-pace for 244 versus 217 last year.
In other words, just as he popped into the Cy Young picture in the second half last year, don’t count him out just yet. No matter how bad the rest of his team has looked at times.
Forget the field for a moment, because that has a way of filtering itself out as a season progresses. Hernandez, for now, only has to worry about not beating himself. If he takes care of that and posts the numbers he’s headed for, the rest should take care of itself and he’ll be right in there at the end.
Then, nobody will be worrying about how he missed this year’s All-Star Game.