Monday, July 2, 2012

Felix Hernandez will represent Mariners in All-Star Game

By Kshell

For the third time in the last four seasons Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will find himself in the Major League Baseball All-Star game this season. The only year which Hernandez missed the all-star game was two years ago his Cy Young season. Hernandez is the only Seattle Mariners player selected to the All-Star team. Hernandez who still remains one of the games best pitchers has had an up and down season this year. However, Hernandez has been pitching terrific lately in his last three starts and was flat out dominant in his last start. Hernandez in his last start pitched a complete game shutout striking out 13 Boston Red Sox as the Mariners defeated the Red Sox 1-0.

For the season Hernandez in 16 starts has a 6-5 record, has thrown 110.2(7 innings a start) with a 3.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 114 K's(9.27 K's per 9). Hernandez is having his typical season with the Mariners as he is the workhorse who receives no run support. In 16 starts Hernandez has 10 quality starts on the season. He has also pitched eight innings or more allowing one run or less in six starts(37.5% of his starts) and has pitched seven innings or more allowing one run or less in nine starts(56.3% of his starts). He is holing opponents to a .248 average while allowing only 9 home runs(one home run every 12 1/3 innings pitched). With speculation about Hernandez losing his velocity and hitting his usual bump in the road in May he has rebounded in the last three starts. In his last three starts he has pitched 23 innings(7 2/3 innings a start average), is 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA, 0.87 WHIP struck out 30 batters(11.73 K's per 9). Hernandez is hitting his stride just in time for his third career all-star game as he becomes only the second Mariners pitcher ever to be selected to three all-star games. The man he joins also has a Cy Young for this franchise.

Randy Johnson is the only Seattle Mariners pitcher who has been chosen to more all-star games than Felix Hernandez. Johnson with the Mariners made the all-star team five times(1990, 1993-1995, 1997) including being the starting pitcher for the American League in 1995 and 1997. Just like Hernandez, Johnson is the only other Seattle Mariner who has won a Cy Young award for this franchise. Hernandez is probably the second greatest pitcher in franchise history trailing on "the Big Unit" who in totaly has won five cy youngs in his career. Johnson provided some great moments in the all-star game as well in 1993 he threw the ball over the head of Philadelphia Phillies John Kruk who is now an ESPN analysis. Kruk then stood as far back in the batters box as he could after striking out weakly on three straight pitches. In 1997 facing Larry Walker who had "johnsonitis" and avoided him in the regular season Johnson threw over Walker's head. Walker being the good sport turned around and hit right handed with his helmet on backwards as Johnson then walked him. The man Johnson was eventually traded for Freddy Garcia made two all-star games and was the winning pitcher in the 2001 game in Seattle. Perhaps this year in Kansas City, Hernandez can notch his name in All-Star game history as he pitched a scoreless inning in 2009 while not pitching last year due to pitching on a Sunday.

Overall I'm happy for Hernandez making the all-star team. Sometimes in Seattle due to the poor offense and poor team I feel like people forget just how good Hernandez is. Thankfully AL manager Ron Washington who has faced Hernandez quite a bit with the Texas Rangers recognizes how great of a pitcher Hernandez is and selected him to the all-star team. Hernandez is a guy the Mariners can hopefully someday build around as he is a terrific talent and in this all-star game I can't wait to see him shine once again. The Mariners lone all-star is Hernandez and he'll represent the Mariners well like he has his entire career.

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