Has King Felix Pitched His Way out of Cy Young Contention?
At the end of August it appeared that Felix Hernandez was well on his way to his second Cy Young in three years.
At one point during a 12-start span dating from June 28th-August 27th, Felix threw five shutouts, including a perfect game against the Rays. The King was reigning supreme every time he stepped on the mound and it seemed that there was no end in sight.
Then the calendar flipped its page to September. With the new month came a new Hernandez, one that baseball fans were not used to seeing.
In the 26-year-old's first start of the month he faced the dangerous Angels' lineup. In his previous two starts against L.A., he struggled greatly giving up 15 hits and 10 runs with his team losing both occurrences.
Unfortunately for him, this game wasn't much different. Though he pitched into the seventh, King Felix gave up nine hits and another five runs (four earned). The Mariners lost that game as well.
His next start came against another team in the AL West, the red-hot Oakland A's. With fewer big names and pretty solid career numbers against Oakland, most figured Felix would bounce back to form.
4.2 innings later he proved people wrong as he gave up 11 hits and six runs before being chased out of the game. This was the second consecutive loss he picked up, only doing that one other time in mid-May.
Which pitcher will win the AL Cy Young?
Two bad games? No big deal.
Hernandez had the ball again on Thursday night against Toronto looking to right the ship. With his numbers jumping to 13-7 with a 2.67 ERA after the previous two starts, his name was still in the mix for the coveted Cy Young.
A mere four innings later, even that is up in the air.
In those four innings, the Jays tallied 10 hits while pushing seven across before Eric Wedge mercifully took his guy out of the game.
This was easily the worst start out of his previous three, if not the entire season. The only time Hernandez lasted a shorter amount of time was on May 16th against Cleveland, when he went 3.2. The seven earned runs were the most he had given up this season.
With the Mariners early in a hole too deep to climb out of, they fell to the Jays, giving the King his third straight loss. The last time that happened was the final three games of the 2011 campaign.
A current ERA of 2.92, 199 strikeouts, and a 13-8 record is nothing to hang a head about. In fact it's pretty darn good.
However, with the likes of Price, Verlander, Weaver and Sale only getting better as they fight for a playoff spot, it seems like Hernandez is all but out of the tight race.
Barring he finds the magic he had just a couple weeks ago and can squeeze out enough to last him through his remaining starts, Felix Hernandez will have to wait until next year if he wants to find himself hoisting the Cy Young once more.
*Stats are from ESPN.com and MLB.com.
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