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September 11, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Angels 7, Mariners 4: Felix Hernandez roughed up, but still has ERA lead at 2.39

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This could have gone a whole lot worse for Felix Hernandez, given the seven runs scored off him in just 6 1/3 innings tonight. But just four of those runs were earned, two of them coming when he’d left the game and Jamey Wright yielded a two-run double.
So, Hernandez kept his ERA almost the same at 2.31. Instead, it goes up from 2.30 to 2.39.
Not a back-breaker, given the implosion last night by Clay Buchholz, now No. 2 in the AL behind Hernandez at 2.53.
Hernandez also regained the AL strikeout lead at 214, compared to 211 for Jered Weaver.
And the innings keep piling up, with Hernandez now at 225 2/3 and counting. It’s almost certain Sabathia can’t catch him now. In fact, barring a total collapse by Hernandez, he’ll likely win the ERA, innings, and possibly the strikeout crown.
After tonight, though, if he’s to win the Cy Young, it’s guaranteed he can do no better than tie Tim Lincecum for the lowest win total ever by a starter capturing the prize. Hernandez has also guaranteed he would post the fewest wins ever by an AL Cy Young recipient — 15 — which would be one lower than Zack Greinke of the Royals had last year.
So, Hernandez has guaranteed we’ll see some history put at stake in this year’s voting.
With four starts left, he’ll be lucky to get to 13 wins. Might not even finish at .500. This could get real interesting.
And I say that not because of his abilities, but because of an offense that now barely scores unless an opponent commits some kind of miscue. Ichiro hit a three-run homer in the eighth with Seattle down 7-0 and long since out of it. The M’s added another meaningless run in the ninth.
That’s two straight games here in which the offense didn’t show up until the final two innings. You can’t have that in the majors.
Prior to that, the offense had gone 12 innings without a run.
A long season. Could have gotten longer tonight with Hernandez’s poor showing. But the three unearned runs saved him some bigger damage in the race.
His Mariners? They’ve now lost seven straight series since they won those two in Cleveland and Baltimore.
So, gonna call it a night here. For Janic over at LL, you guessed correctly and win tonight’s level-headedness award. For the rest of you, take the night off and go watch some football. Mariners need to go 8-13 the rest of the way to avoid 100 losses.

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