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November 16, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Amazing how seven weeks can change perceptions in Cy Young Award race

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For those who keep asking, yes, the annual GM meetings begin today down in Orlando. No, nothing significant has happened yet where the Mariners are concerned. Expect the usual assortment of rumors, etc. over the next two days, but it’s doubtful anything gets done yet. Typically, the GM meetings are where you lay the initial groundwork for talks. The real stuff begins in three weeks at the winter meetings, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and I’ll be there to bring you wall-to-wall coverage. In the meantime, if something of importance happens over the next 48 hours, we’ll let you know.
While we wait, I thought it would be interesting to go back over some of the blog posts mentioning Felix Hernandez and his Cy Young Award chances, given how the results of BBWAA voing will be released on Thursday. Some of the comments on the posts are a hoot. That’s nothing new. But the difference this time around is that I find it truly interesting just how quickly some perceptions changed in so short a time regarding Hernandez’s chances.
You’d expect it in some of the earliest posts we did on this topic. The earliest I could find was a post on July 10, and back then, the idea of Hernandez — the second-best pitcher on the M’s to that point — winning a Cy Young was a little tough for most people to grasp. But then, fast forward more than a month, to a post written on Aug. 16, and the non-acceptance of the idea by so many commenting readers of the idea Hernandez could possibly win was still quite strong.
That’s kind of amazing given how, aside from a few proponents of the “East Coast will always deny us” theory, I sense that many of you believe Hernandez should and will take home the hardware. How much did that change, compared to what was being written back on Aug 16? Well, let’s take a look.
Here’s one:
Well I don’t think there’s much comparison. Cliff Lee has been amazing this year- way above Felix. Sorry, bro

Sorry indeed, because as it turned out, Cliff Lee became little more than an afterthought in Cy Young consideration. Very doubtful he cracks the top-3. That’s the thing with trying to make predictions with seven weeks to go in a season. So much can happen.
I disagree and don’t consider Felix as a candidate this year. I say this for two reasons.
First, when Lee was with the club, Lee was the better pitcher. He dominated each outing he pitched. Hernandez could dominate, but was much more inconsistant. Lee was the better pitcher.
Second, his low ERA should have an asterisk by it. You will say that he should have been out of the inning, except for the error. True, but the error occurred, and Hernandez melted down completely. That is not the mark of a Cy Young Award winning pitcher. Last year he should have won the award. Maybe next year will be his year to win. This year, however, no. No way.

It should be mentioned that the post in question came after the game we discussed yesterday on the blog, in which Hernandez gave up six runs in the seventh inning to the Indians after a two-out error by Chone Figgins. None of the runs were earned, but many readers cited it as an example of why Hernandez’s quest for a Cy Young had lost momentum.
Felix does not deserve consideration. He needs to be able to handle adversity if he is going to improve. Too many meltdowns when he is cruising and then all of a sudden cannot get anyone out. Consistency is required.
Ouch. Here’s more.
My model for these questions is Murray Dickson who, in the early 50s won 20 for the then godawful Pirates.Greinke won 16 with a rock-bottom ERA for a dreadful team and because of it the voters cut him the necessary slack and, rightly in my view, awarded him the Cy. But there are limits. Guys with losing records donĀ“t get short listed, and chances are that Felix will end up with a losing record. And Cy aside, after Figgins’ error yesterday he gave it up. Very un Cy-like.
And more:
I’m sure the two Cleveland writers won’t give Felix any Cy votes after watching him melt down yesterday.
Well, I suppose that could be true where a first-place ballot is concerned. Knowing some of the Cleveland writers, though, I doubt that will happen.
The AL players and managers said all there is to say about Felix when they left him off the All-Star team this year. David Price in TB is going to win this hands down. Lee hasn’t pitched lights out since going to Texas. Price is right for the AL Cy Young, especially if he beats Lee tonight.
In case you were wondering, David Price didn’t beat Lee. Price really didn’t win any big games for the Rays all season, including playoffs. Well, OK, I’ll give him the win over the Yankees in late September and then another over KC to keep alive the Rays’ shot at winning the AL East — which it did the next day. Those do count, even if Price got twice outdueled in the post-season. Of course, the votes were handed in at the end of the regular season, so playoff performance doesn’t count.
Here’s another.
The only way Price wins is if he gets to 22-23+ wins, which I doubt he’ll do. Lee has the votes of the West teams and Cleveland writers about locked up I’d say, unless Geoff pulls an all time homer move and votes for Felix (if he votes this year). You know the guys in New York and Boston would rather Lee get the award than Price. If Price wins tonight and goes on to win over twenty he’s got a shot, but I say he gets shelled tonight and Lee pitches a gem.
For the record, I don’t have a Cy Young vote this year. Larry Stone and Kirby Arnold do. Good thing, too, because as you all know, I really am a Mariners homer. Just ask this next guy.
The guy gives up six runs (all techincally earned) in one third of an inning with one on and two outs , and now he is being talked up for the Cy Young? I guess homer sportswriters don’t have to read what they write even if it is less than 24 hours old.
Yeah, we discussed this yesterday. The Cleveland game wasn’t one of Hernandez’s finer moments. But all pitchers do get saved by the “unearned runs” thing from time to time. The guy Hernandez beat out for the ERA title, Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox, had an inning in April in which he gave up four runs, but only one of them was earned because of an error.
In any event, not much love for Hernandez at this point in our comments backtrack. Actually, there was a smidgen of positivity in there. Here’s a post from Winnie Nicklaus:
Unfortunately, I think the wins deficit is too spectacular to be an object lesson for voters in the pointlessness of that stat; he’ll just be ignored. I would still give Lee a big edge anyway; his xFIP coupled with his complete games seal the deal for me (or would, if the season ended today).
But if Felix continues to dominate, he’ll be close. It’s just a shame that he’ll be ignored because the voters have what can only be described as a very shallow understanding of what makes a pitcher valuable. But, I guess there are people who are allowed to vote in presidential elections who don’t know where Canada is, so this is just par for the course.

There are people allowed to vote who don’t know the capital of their home state, but that’s besides the point. The key here was the “if the season ended today” line, which is always a good qualifier when you’re attempting predictions with seven weeks to go. As we know, Lee had a touch of arm trouble and flatlined for a few weeks, which wound up knocking him out of real Cy Young consideration.
Having fun yet?
Get off the Cy Young bro. Two years in a row you have run the subject into the ground. Unlike last year, he deserves nothing this season. Just like the rest of his team. The season can’t end fast enough, the sooner this club can be exploded, the better. No one on this team deserves any awards. The deserve pay reductions and shorter term contracts.
I am the first one to punch Figgy in the chops for that ridiculous error, but Felix showed he is still a child as it pertains to the mental aspect of the game. He is not a Cy Young award winner – it really is that simple.

Just as an aside, what’s with all the “bro” stuff? Are we related? Some of the folks on this site could use a little sitdown chat with Miss Manners. Not just for the language and the anger issues I see, but also the whining that goes on with “I don’t want to see this” and “I don’t want to read that” popping up every single day. Those issues are easily settled by moving your computer mouse up or down to new posts. Most of us don’t really care about your personal likes or dislikes and come on here to chat baseball. Hard to believe, I know. But as a rule of thumb, if you can’t stand to see something, or don’t want to chat about a day’s topic, move along and spare the rest of us. That way, you aren’t bothered and we aren’t bored.
Ah, that felt good.
Back to the comments from Aug. 16…we’ll do a few more.
Felix deserves zero consideration for the Cy Young award. Winners rise above and he hasn’t period. I understand yesterday he had no earned runs because of the initial error – yet it was he who gave up 3 singles in a row and then the grand slam all with less than 110 pitches.
Once again, an example of why we don’t base analysis off a single game in mid-August.
You’re barking up the wrong tree. No way a CY YOUNG is going to a 10 or 11 game winner. The M’s have sucked with him and would have sucked without him. I know its suppose to be an individual stat but the winning does matter. KInda like giving an mvp to a guy on the last place club. Doesnt happen. Want the King to get a Cy/ Need to trade him to a Major League Club , not a Triple A M’s club.
Well, I suppose you could be right. Hernandez did wind up winning 13, but the point still stands.
What’s funny about your article is that you completely leave out the frontrunner for the Cy Young who is not leading in any of the categories you consider most important. Have you ever heard of Tampa Bay’s Rays David Price?
Once again, a comment that could turn out correct. For the record, I’d heard of Price but did not consider him a frontrunner at any point.
This thread needs therapy. I love the guy, but if Felix wins the Cy Young I will never ever ever ever watch baseball again. Wins count.
Agree with the first part. But on the second, I’d hope you reconsider. Baseball is too fun a game to abandon it completely.
OK, I think we’ve made the point. No matter how many people come forward on Thursday afternoon and tell you “We knew it all along!” there was a good segment of fans — even Mariners fans — who simply could not come to grips with the idea that Hernandez had a Cy Young chance.
And that’s OK, because you were not alone nationwide. If Hernandez does manage to win this award, it will truly be an historic feat. Not simply because he’ll have significantly lowered the wins threshold for a Cy Young guy. But also because he had so many other pitchers to overcome — particularly the huge start by teammate Lee.
But from where things sit today, he appears to have overcome it. And what a triumph that will be if it is officialized on Thursday. In this lost year for major league baseball in the Pacific Northwest — compounded by the loss of Dave Niehaus last week — it’s a triumph worth hoping for.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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