Felix Hernandez was a gift.
Not just a gift to Mariners fans, but to baseball fans in general. It cannot be understated just how much joy Felix’s pitching has brought the world of baseball over the last five-and-a-half years. The abundance of strikeouts. The diving sinkers. The vicious fastballs. The fist pumps. The sheer brilliance with which he performs his craft. The ability to make a casual fan turn on their television and watch a team hurtling toward 100 losses because they want to watch a master go to work, regardless of how fearsome the opposition is.
Anyone can write an ode to Felix. It’s not hard, and everyone in the baseball universe has been singing his praises as he attempts to win a Cy Young with only 13 wins. Anyone can reference the 232 strikeouts, 249 and 2/3 innings, 2.27 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 6 complete games, and a fastball worth a whopping 25.5 runs above average. You’d be hard-pressed to find a statistic that didn’t agree with Felix in 2010.
Words are only words. I can’t convey the level of gratitude I feel toward Felix by typing on a laptop. Trying to appreciate the mastery of an entire sport by a 23-year-old is difficult, and language won’t do the trick. Every Mariners fan owes Felix Hernandez a hug.
Felix’s season can be summarized by his second-to-last outing of the year. He struck out five batters in eight innings, racked up thirteen ground-balls, and allowed two hits and one run. He lost, 1-0. Felix earned the loss in games when he allowed three runs or less six times in 2010. In fact, the M’s scored a total of 14 runs in his 12 losses. That’s about 1.2 runs-per-game. The Mariners offense was so inept that, consequentially, the best pitcher in the American League was slapped with a loss 12 of the 34 times he took the hill. That offense – possibly the worst offense in the history of modern baseball – may have robbed Felix of a Cy Young award.
Seattle baseball fans didn’t have much to cheer for in 2010, but Felix Hernandez did everything he possibly could to make us happy. Thank you, Felix, and here’s to another four years of fantastic pitching.