Tag:Felix Hernandez
Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:51 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:11 pm

AL Cy Young candidates shine

Felix Hernandez Tuesday may have been the final outings for the American League's three Cy Young candidates. All three front-runners, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, New York's CC Sabathia and Tampa's David Price would find their spot in the rotation coming back up on Sunday, but it's unlikely to be worth it to throw the aces back out.

In the case of Price and Sabathia, they'd be better served getting ready for the playoffs, and for Hernandez and the Mariners, there's little more to gain.

Regardless, all three were impressive on Tuesday.

Sabathia went 8 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits an a run against the Blue Jays, striking out eight while walking just two. He lowered his ERA to 3.18 and improved to 21-7.

Price went eight shutout innings, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out eight. He's now 19-6 with a 2.73 ERA.

Finally, Hernandez actually picked up a win to go to 13-12, allowing a run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in eight innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.27.

Still, Hernandez says he wants to pitch on Sunday. According to the Seattle Times ' Geoff Baker (via Twitter ), Hernandez said he's going to pitch.

"If they say 'no more,' I'm going to go out there Sunday," Hernandez said. "I'm going to get ready and I'm going to go to the mound."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 1:02 am

AL Cy Young gets even tighter

CC Sabathia
There has already been plenty of debate over the American League Cy Young Award race, and Thursday's results only made a murky picture murkier.

New York's C.C. Sabathia seemed to be holding a tenuous grasp on front-runner status, so what does he do? Of course, he goes out and gets blown up in a key game against the Rays, giving up seven earned runs and jacking up his ERA by a quarter of a point (from 3.05 to 3.26).

His counterpart in that game, David Price, is considered the solid-but-not-glamorous choice, and that's exactly the kind of game he pitched Thursday: six innings, eight hits, three runs, four walks, seven strikeouts. He got the win and looked good compared with Sabathia, but it wasn't exactly the commanding performance you'd hope to see from a Cy Young candidate in an important, stretch-run game.

And then there's Seattle's Felix Hernandez. All he did was pitch his sixth complete game (Sabathia and Price each have two), allowing two hits and one run. And he lost, 1-0, in yet another game in which his teammates might as well have been going to the plate wielding chopsticks. Seriously, watching Hernandez -- now 12-12 while leading the league in ERA, innings and strikeouts -- go out every five days has become like watching Charlie Brown line up to kick the football.

Expect to hear a lot more about the value of wins in evaluating a pitcher's season, but here's an angle I haven't seen elsewhere that would allow you to argue for Hernandez while using wins to bolster his case. The Mariners have only won 58 games this season, meaning Hernandez has been the winning pitcher in 21 percent of his team's victories. Sabathia has 22 percent of the Yankees' wins, and Price 20 percent of the Rays' wins. So Hernandez has been winning at a rate commensurate with his team's success, while leading the league in most major statistical categories. I don't have one of the 28 votes that will actually decide the Cy Young, but if I did, I'd have no qualms about listing Hernandez first on the ballot.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 1:09 pm

Mariners montioring Hernandez's workload

Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez may not have a chance to win 15 games -- the Mariners are considering giving Hernandez just two more starts instead of three.

Hernandez leads the American League with 233 2/3 innings pitched and close to his career-high of 238 2/3 innings.

"He's 24 years old and has thrown 233 innings," interim manager Daren Brown told reporters on Sunday (via MLB.com ). "It's something we'll have to monitor. We talk about stressful innings. I saw a stat on him a couple of days ago on how many scoreless innings he has pitched out of the 233. To me, the number was amazing."

In 233 2/3 innings, 193 of Herandez's innings have been scoreless.

"I know I sound like a broken record, but he's improtant to where we're trying to go and he's somebody we're going to keep a close eye on and take care of him," Brown said. "We'll have to look at everything -- innings and number of pitches. He's thrown more pitches than anybody else."

Hernandez is scheduled to pitch against the Blue Jays on Thursday and the regular rotation would put him on the hill Sept. 28 at Texas and in the season-finale against the A's on Oct. 3.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 17, 2010 11:43 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 12:33 am

No-hitter watch: Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez Looking to add to his already-impressive Cy Young resume, the Mariners' Felix Hernandez has a no-hitter through six innings against the Rangers.

Hernandez has allowed just one baserunner, walking a batter while striking out seven. He's thrown just 65 pitches.

The Rangers haven't really gotten anything close to a hit, either.

Seattle leads 2-0 in the middle of the sixth. The Mariners have managed six hits off Texas starter C.J. Wilson.

UPDATE: Michael Young is the eighth strikeout victim, leading off the seventh. David Murphy taps back to the pitcher for the second out. Vladimir Guerrero then lined one to second. Hernandez has thrown 72 pitches.

UPDATE: Nelson Cruz broke up the no-hitter and shutout on Hernandez's second pitch of the inning with a solo homer to center.

UPDATE: The one run would be all the Rangers would get off of Hernandez. Texas added two more hits in the eighth, but nothing else and David Aardsma picked up the save, while Hernandez moved to 12-11 on the season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 14, 2010 5:58 pm

Logic not on Joe Morgan's side

Joe Morgan
If you talk in public as much as Joe Morgan does, you're bound to say something stupid once in a while. But that doesn't excuse saying something as stupid as what he said in an online chat Tuesday.

The ESPN baseball analyst (and Hall of Fame player) was talking about the American League Cy Young Award race, which has people debating how much wins should count for or against a pitcher compared with other stats that are more in his control. Seattle's Felix Hernandez leads the league in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched, but he's got just an 11-11 record.

"I don't buy into the point that if Felix is pitching for someone else he'd have more wins," Morgan said in his chat.

Uh, wait ... what?

Hernandez has gotten 1.2 runs of support on average, by far the least of any regular starter in the majors. He's pitching for a team that scores 3.19 runs per game, on pace for one of the worst run totals in recent history. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times recently detailed seven games in which Hernandez got a no-decision that would have been a win if he had an even remotely competent offense backing him up. And those are just no-decisions -- not even looking at games he lost that he could have won.

The debate between Hernandez and the Yankees' CC Sabathia (Joe Posnanski recently compared the two start-by-start) is a legitimate one. But in no universe can you logically argue that Hernandez would not have benefited in the win column by playing for a better team.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 30, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 8:45 pm

Handicapping the AL Cy Young Award race

Cy Young award As August draws to a close, the candidates to win awards are beginning to take shape. The AL Cy Young is shaping up to be quite a race with several young pitchers in contention for the award.

Young pitching has taken the majors by storm lately, so it's only fitting that some new names enter the Cy Young race for the first time, spearheaded by Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill, although the wizened, grizzled, 30-year-old CC Sabathia may have something to say about who grabs the hardware.

One of the more difficult things to do in properly evaluating the winner of a Cy Young race is to figure out which metrics to look at. ERA has become a rather maligned statistic lately, although when evaluated in its sole function, is a great barometer of what a pitcher did with a specific team in a specific park in a specific year. And given awards tend to be all about what actual production was, one could argue that ERA is a primary indication of a player's performance.

However, there's also Fielding-Independent Pitching (FIP) which strips out most variables, giving you a better indication of a pitcher's true talent, focusing mainly on strikeouts and walks. xFIP normalizes homer rate, which gives you an idea of a pitcher's true talent with all variables stripped out, including home and road ballparks. What FIP and xFIP primarily do is give one an idea of what is most likely to happen from here on out in a pitcher's production.

So you have two metrics: one evaluating what actually happened, and one evaluating a pitcher's actual production. Given awards aren't about long-term success and are specifically geared to one-year wonders, whether aberrations or not, ERA shouldn't be eliminated from the evaluation process. Discounted, sure, but not eliminated.

One thing that can be eliminated, however, is wins and losses. Those have absolutely no bearing on a pitcher's effectiveness, and the voting process is starting to realize the foolhardiness of voting for wins as 2009 Cy Young victor Zack Greinke can attest to with a 16-8 record.

Without further ado, your top AL Cy Young candidates in alphabetical order:

Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz
Boston Red Sox
15-5, 146 2/3 IP, 101 K, 55 BB, 2.21 ERA, 4.19 xFIP

Buchholz has been a revelation for the Red Sox this season, taking the next step toward being a front-of-the-line rotation member. After struggling with inconsistency -- both mechanical and mental -- over the last few seasons, Buchholz has finally found himself comfortable on the mound and that's translated to results. He has done very well in inducing soft contact that defenders can gobble up, but it's not entirely positive yet whether that's a repeatable skill or simple luck. It's probably a combination of both. Buchholz has the easiest road to victory, with a commanding ERA and a wins ledger that should crack 18 provided the 26-year-old doesn't fall apart down the stretch.

Trevor Cahill Trevor Cahill
Oakland Athletics
14-5, 155 2/3 IP, 88 K, 46 BB, 2.43 ERA, 4.12 xFIP

Unlike Buchholz, Cahill doesn't have the gaudy strikeout numbers which will harm him in a campaign otherwise remarkably similar to Buchholz. He has a ton of BABIP-fueled luck, largely because of the spacious park he calls home and the strong fielding corps behind him. Cahill figures to eventually morph into one of the better starters in the league, but at least for 2010, his success is based on a house of cards as he has no reliable strikeout pitch and doesn't force batters to chase pitches out of the zone.

Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez
Seattle Mariners
10-10, 204 1/3 IP, 192 K, 56 BB, 2.47 ERA, 3.26 xFIP

Now we're getting into people with truly dominating statistics. Hernandez has already broken the 200-inning barrier with over a full month to go. That's all sorts of crazy, as is his K-rate a certainty to break 200. He's combining that with strong command, but his win-loss record sets him back, especially in an environment where a fair share of voters still value wins and losses. Such are the perils for playing for one of the worst teams in the majors, and a historically-bad offense.

Cliff Lee Cliff Lee
Texas Rangers
10-8, 179 2/3 IP, 156 K, 12 BB, 3.26 ERA, 3.26 xFIP

The 2008 Cy Young champion still has a strong chance at taking home the hardware, but his time so far in Texas hasn't been Cy-worthy. He has a 4.50 ERA in Texas, although his xFIP is still in the low 3.00's. A big reason why is the increased clip in home runs allowed which may be due to his new home park. His win-loss record leaves a lot to be desired as well, largely due to his turn in Seattle. Let's take a moment, however, to appreciate how good Lee has been: a low xFIP exactly the same as his ERA not only shows just how good he's been, but that he's pitched well without much luck, unlike Buchholz and Cahill. In addition, the 12 walks allowed is not a typo. Lee is this author's top choice for the Cy.

David Price David Price
Tampa Bay Rays
15-6, 164 2/3 IP, 154 K, 65 BB, 3.01 ERA, 3.98 xFIP

Price doesn't have much over Buchholz and Cahill, although he's been decidedly less lucky which is reflected in ERA. The difference in xFIP is marginal enough that makes one wonder if there's any reason he should stand over Buchholz and Cahill. Remember, not only are we looking for true talent, but we're also looking at what a pitcher actually did, luck and randomness included. Lee and Hernandez have the most compelling cases so far, win-loss record be damned, but Buchholz and Cahill hold the edge otherwise.

CC Sabathia CC Sabathia

New York Yankees
18-5, 194 2/3 IP, 160 K, 62 BB, 3.14 ERA, 3.83 xFIP

Sabathia has changed his game lately, inducing more groundballs while keeping the rest of his game constant. As a result, batters are making less hard contact off of Sabathia, and with a powerful Yankees team behind him, dominates the wins ledger with 18. His ERA is low enough and overall durability high enough that he presents a legitimate challenge for the top spot with strong cases in every category. No other pitcher on the list has the blend of wins, innings, BB/K, ERA and xFIP than Sabathia, which may be all that's needed to claim the award. The best chance to keep the trophy away from a member of the Yankees may rest in their division rival's Buchholz. If that ERA stays rock-bottom through the end of the season, that ERA plus what figures to be around 18 wins should present a compelling enough case to win the award. Until then, however, Sabathia has to be considered the favorite.

Just missed the cut: Jon Lester, Francisco Liriano, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 26, 2010 1:38 pm

Beltre upset about ejection

Adrian Beltre
The Red Sox were fuming after Wednesday night's game, angry about losing their best player for most of a big game due to a mistake by a fill-in umpire.

After being called out on strikes in the second inning, Beltre told home plate umpire Dan Bellino he thought the final pitch was low. Bellino said it was a strike, and Beltre walked away. Arguing balls and strikes is a no-no, but respectfully asking about the location of a pitch is usually OK.

At the end of the inning, as Beltre went out to man third base, he exchanged some smack talk in Spanish with Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. The former teammates had "a little bet," as Beltre put it -- Hernandez said he was going to strike Beltre out three times, and Beltre said he was going to homer.

Well, Bellino, a 32-year-old Triple-A ump who is a vacation fill-in, thought Beltre was jawing at him over the strike call. He tossed Beltre, then manager Terry Francona, who came out to argue.

"A young umpire got in the midst of something he didn’t know," Francona told reporters after the game. "That shouldn’t have happened. It’s a shame. Beltre was just having fun with Felix. He wasn’t even talking to [Bellino]. That was unfortunate."

Boston lost 4-2, leaving Red Sox fans envisioning the three-run homer Beltre surely would have hit if he hadn't been tossed.
"It’s frustrating to have a rookie umpire doing something like that, especially with how important this game is for us,’’ Beltre said. “I’m not even facing him. I wasn’t talking to him. I was talking Spanish and he’s behind my back. So how can he take the initiative to take me out of the game in the second inning?’’

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 20, 2010 10:07 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2010 10:09 pm

Hernandez owns the Yankees

Felix Hernandez
Felix Hernandez was replaced for the ninth inning against the Yankees on Friday night, as he should have been -- he'd thrown 117 pitches and the Mariners led 6-0.

But if Hernandez had been able to finish the game, he would have become, according to the Mariners, the first pitcher to notch complete-game wins in four consecutive starts against the Yankees since Mike Cuellar or the Orioles between 1974 and 1975. He'd have been the first to pitch four straight complete games against them at all since Toronto's Dave Stieb from 1983-84.

Hernandez is having a season that would make him a threat to win the Cy Young if he pitched for a decent team. He entered the night leading the American League in innings pitched and quality starts, second in strikeouts and third in ERA. But he's 9-10, and in his 10 losses the Mariners have scored a total of 10 runs for him.

He's good against everybody, but he finds an extra gear against the Yankees. Here are his three starts against New York this season:

June 30: 9 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 11 strikeouts

July 10: 9 innings, 1 run, 10 hits, 9 strikeouts

Friday: 8 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 11 strikeouts

Hernandez finishes the season with a 0.35 ERA against the Yankees, who batted .176 against him. They Yankees are happy to see the last of him for the year.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com