Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/2/12
Felix loses Cy Young with horrible finish to season

Felix Hernandez finished his season against the Angels with a loss, allowing 12 hits and 7 earned runs over 5.1 innings pitched.

His best form came while striking out the side in the fifth inning, but his 7 strikeouts could not redeem another short appearance for the Mariners.

Only one month ago, Hernandez was in the driver’s seat for the Cy Young Award in the American League, delivering present success and future hope to the continually starved Seattle baseball fan.

Hernandez will finish the season 13-9, with a 3.06 ERA and 223 K’s, but the offense cannot be blamed any longer. With saber metrics consuming baseball fanatics and award voters, the Mariners ace no longer has to win 20 games to be considered.

However, Hernandez did need to avoid a few bad stretches during the 2012 season, this last start alone raised his season’s ERA from 2.86 to 3.06.

These stats were made possible by Baseball-reference.com, the deductions and opinions were not.

Without the months of May (4.45 ERA) and September/October (5.70 ERA), Felix is the Cy Young winner. Without playing the Angels (6.25 ERA in 5 games, 2.31 ERA against everyone else), Felix wins the Cy Young.

What does that mean for the Seattle Mariners?

His value cannot get higher, and it might be decreasing.

Hernandez will finish the season 13-9, with a 3.06 ERA and 223 K’s

If you are worried that Felix wore down at the end of the year, just wait until next season. In his last six starts, Felix boasted a 6.62 ERA and allowed 53 hits over 35.1 IP. That is just awful.

Felix has expressed interest in pitching during the World Baseball Classic in March of 2013. That increase in innings could essentially push this terrible end of the season back into early August or late July.

Now, these last six starts could be an anomaly.

The other four months of the year, Hernandez’s ERA was below 3 each month, including a red-hot 1.08 ERA in August that included a perfect game. That kind of production makes bad teams look good, and turns good teams into World Series contenders.

Unfortunately, the Mariners are the former.

The Pressure Is On Jack Z

The million-dollar question for General Manager Jack Zduriencik then becomes whether or not he trusts the three up and coming pitchers to take the reigns from the King before his value diminishes any further (Hernandez is signed with the Mariners through 2014).

Starting pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, and James Paxton will be ready soon, should the M’s trade Felix for hitting now?

Before answering, this tweet received attention last night from Mariners fans and needs to be addressed.

Congrats to Felix Hernandez on another fine year. Finishes w/ 3.06 ERA. His offense and this entire franchise continue to let him down.

— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) October 2, 2012

Congratulations are always in order when a pitcher is in the Cy Young conversation, but there is nothing more or less that the Mariners offense can do to help Felix succeed in Major League Baseball.

The Pressure Is On Jack Z

Look at the King’s ERA during wins and losses

In Felix’s 13 wins, his ERA was 1.12. Even the most anemic offense could win with that kind of pitching performance, but in his 9 losses his ERA was over 7.5, and the leagues best offenses would have trouble bailing him out.

Blaming the offense does not cut it for starting pitchers any longer; their performances are identified in the numbers they put up every 5 days on the mound.

As for this franchise, with limitations from ownership, the front office is doing everything they can to build from within. Felix missing out on his prime pitching meaningless September games because the team is not ready is something the current front office cannot fix.

This team will go nowhere by putting Band-Aids on bullet holes as they have done since 2001, not even Felix is worth that. Sustained success is better than trying to get Felix a playoff game.

Speaking of “The Franchise”, I would bet on Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton to hit home runs at Safeco Field, no matter where the fence ends.

The answer to the question above?

Expect some phone calls and trade rumors this winter Mariners fans, the Supreme Court just might be adjourned in Seattle before his power runs out.

All hail the King.


© Jeff Budke for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | One comment |

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Post tags: CY young, Danny Hultzen, Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, James Paxton, King Felix, Mariners, Mariners blog, MLB Blogs, seattle, Taijuan Walker, World Baseball Classic

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