An ode to an All-Star
This weeks segment is all about King Felix Hernandez and his selection to the American League All-Star team.
As the lone Mariner making the trip to the Kansas City for the annual All-Star game, I thought I would do my piece on him this week.
This video is a collection of strikeouts from three appearances; San Francisco, Boston, and San Diego.
But after the month that Hernandez had, I could bet there will be a few more of these retrospective type videos surfacing very soon.
Power over finesse
In typical Felix Hernandez form, most of these strikeouts come from the nastiness of his fastball.
His ability to add that extra oomph when the K is on the line is what makes him such a valuable piece of the Mariners rotation.
Take him out of the equation, and we most likely loose six games a week instead of four.
In all but two of the K’s in this video, the strikeout comes on a fastball of 93 mph or better.
King Felix is this generations answer to the great Randy Johnson.
The M’s haven’t seen this kind of dominance by a pitcher of their own since the ’98 season, that was the year they traded Johnson to the Astros before he had a chance to bail via free agency.
Sure it’s the same old story with Fernandez as it was with Johnson, and Langston before him. Would his numbers be more amazing had he played for an actual winning team?
As Danny Ferguson wrote (Does Felix get a pitty vote?), the Cy Young award requirements were changed for Felix Hernandez since he played for the Marines, who have been awful for his entire tenure thus far.
Back in the Kingdome it was who could hit the most home runs to win the ball game, and for Johnson, the M’s never showed up offensively when he made his starts.
Same goes for Felix.
Look at yesterday’s ball game. 1-1 at the end of nine innings. Felix pitched a gem, as he has in every start for the last month, but we just can’t seem to score when he’s on the mound.
With the exception of Justin Verlander, I really don’t think there is a more fearsome pitcher to face in this game than when Felix is throwing the ball with confidence, like he is now.
If the Mariners are serious about bringing up some of the fresh talent from Tacoma in the second half of the season to start working toward building this dynasty that is being promised, then they better do their best to make sure that their King is happy.
Losing by a score of 1-0, or 2-1 will not make any staff ace happy, and I wouldn’t blame Felix if he were to want to be on the move here shortly.
He is the present of the Mariners, but he should be the most important part of the future too.
Here is a link to the video at mariners.com