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July 26, 2010 at 9:13 PM

Felix Hernandez getting robbed in Cy Young race this season — by his own team

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There hasn’t been a potential for a Cy Young Award robbery like this since Randy Johnson was beaten out by Roger Clemens back in the NL race in 2004. Johnson posted a 2.60 ERA to 2.98 for Clemens, while also leading in innings pitched and strikeouts. But Johnson happened to pitch for the gosh-awful Arizona Diamondbacks and wound up posting a 16-14 record.
Right now, Hernandez would take the 16 wins. Problem is, he’ll very likely take the 14 losses in any case if this offense keeps going the way it has.
Right now, Hernandez has the second-best ERA at 2.86 and trails only the 2.56 of Cliff Lee. But Lee’s ERA has climbed since going to Texas. It will likely keep edging up as well the next two months as he pitches home games in Arlington.
In other words, the chances of Hernandez catching Lee are not as astronomical as having to catch Zack Greinke a year ago.
And if Hernandez could catch Lee, he’ll easily trump him in innings pitched. Hernandez also sits second in strikeouts by a slim margin as well as in complete games.

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Usually, a guy in the top-two of all those categories would be mentioned in every single Cy Young discussion.
But you just don’t hear about Hernandez. You hear talk of Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and others. But not the guy in the top-two in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts. That almost never happens.
Lee only has two more wins than Hernandez at 9-4, but the losses are fewer and the victories are sure to increase with the first-place Rangers. As will the ERA, undoubtedly, since it already has jumped in a short time down in the Texas heat.
Still, Hernandez has a long way to go.
Yeah, it’s wrong. But yeah, I also can’t blame people who are having trouble mentioning a seven-win pitcher in the discussion.
That number is just damning. It’s an indictment of his offense, but Hernandez might have to serve the sentence.
What a shame. Because his season this year is looking every bit as good as last year’s minus the wins and the runaway leader like Greinke. Lee has been good. But he isn’t obliterating the field, though his biggest qualifier might be that histroical strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Still, Hernandez should be in this discussion. He isn’t yet. And frankly, there is no other race for any fans of this team to be focused on — other than the race for the No. 1 overall draft pick.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu felt that an error might have been called on third baseman Jose Lopez on a third inning grounder by Alexei Ramirez. By ruling the play at hit, the official scorer cost Hernandez two earned runs.
“You go back to that third inning and to me, that was a questionable hit on Ramirez,” Wakamatsu said. “Or, he gets out of that 1-2-3 and it’s a different ballgame. It ended up costing him 11 extra pitches and two runs early in the ballgame. But again, you’ve got to have some offense to be able to give a pitcher some motivation out there sometimes. We just haven’t been able to do that most of the year.”
Hernandez insisted he doesn’t focus on wins and losses when he takes the mound.
“Everytime I prepare, I just pitch my game, I do my job,” he said. “I separate it from everything else that happens.”
Lopez told Hernandez he should have had the Ramirez grounder.
“He told me he should have had that play,” Hernandez said. “But that’s baseball.”
Lopez told us that the ball had some backspin when it jumped up and hit his glove. He admitted that going to his right has been the toughest part of his adjustment to third base. And he’s still not there yet.
Lopez will have to repair that over the winter if he’s still paying third. And if he’s still here with the Mariners.
Hernandez? He’s having almost the exact same season stats-wise as in 2009 and will have to content himself with that, knowing there’s nothing he can do to help his team score more runs, short of picking up a bat himself.
No, that last part wasn’t a joke. He’d probably help.



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