Growing up in New Jersey, most of my friends were Yankees and Mets fans. After the 2010 season I had long debates with the Yankee fans about who would win the AL Cy Young that year. They of course were arguing in favor of CC Sabathia who just had a 21-win season.
They were having a hard time understanding that wins didn’t actually tell you anything about how well a pitcher had done that year and Felix Hernandez at 13-12, was better in every other category after the win column.
Their main argument then became that Felix was on a bad team, also irrelevant, and the pressure of pitching during a playoff race, something Sabathia was doing that year, would have affected his numbers. Clearly the pressure of being in a playoff race has gotten to Felix…
Either that or the thrill of being in contention has caused him to raise his level of play to historic. Felix, giving into the “pressure”, has had 16 straight ultra quality starts in which he’s pitching at least 7 innings while giving up 2 or less runs.
In 2010 we thought we saw Felix at his best, but this year he is surpassing nearly every stat category from 2010. He is striking out more batters, walking less, and is rewriting the history book in the process. He’s doing this after he lost velocity on his fastball in that time….which gave it more movement and made it more difficult to hit.
He’s been so good that not only are people talking about him winning a Cy Young. While still a difficult task, Felix is putting up good enough numbers to win the AL MVP.
Having the numbers sometimes isn’t enough as Dave Cameron earlier this week wrote about other MVP’s that were pitchers compared to a list of some of the best pitching seasons that didn’t win an MVP.
Regardless of the hardware, watching Felix this season has been a treat not just to Mariner fans, but baseball fans in general. Is Felix responding to the “pressure” of gunning for a playoff spot or is he just feeling good on this ridiculous streak?
Only he can answer that question, but if he keeps this up I’d feel pretty confident with the King on the mound in a one game playoff. We’ll be seeing Felix on the mound again tonight against David Price, something no baseball fan is going to want to miss.