Felix Hernandez is an All-Star but Should he Start?
I don’t think anyone is going to argue that one way or another the Ace of the Seattle Mariner’s starting rotation in 2014, Felix Hernandez, is an All-Star. No question about it! Write his name in ink!
But should he get to start that game?
While the decision of who starts is ultimately up to the AL All-Star Team Manager, which in this case is John Farrell of the Red Sox, typically the AL starter with the most impressive stats is the guy that gets the nod.
With that, here are the top 4 starters in the AL so far in 2014:
PLAYER GP GS IP H R ER BB SO W L WAR WHIP ERA
Tanaka 16 16 115.2 92 30 27 18 127 11 3 4.4 0.95 2.10
Hernandez 18 18 128.1 96 37 30 22 137 10 2 3.8 0.92 2.10
Darvish 15 15 104.1 86 32 28 37 128 8 4 3.6 1.18 2.42
Buehrle 17 17 115.1 110 36 32 30 67 10 5 3.7 1.21 2.50
Describing the race for the right to start the All-Star game as “tight” might be something of an understatement. Both Hernandez and Masahiro Tanaka have made a clear separation from the rest of the group. “Yikes” is how you describe just how close to one another they are statistically.
What a start for both of these guys. Both over 10 wins, Both well over 100 strikeouts, identical ERAs, WHIP numbers within .03 of each other, are you kidding me?
How does one make a sound argument either way?
Well, Tanaka does have one more win in two fewer starts. That’s a big number that favors Tanaka but then again wins don’t always matter because as we all know Felix won the AL Cy Young in a season where he only won 13 ball games.
How about earned runs, you say? I’m afraid that won’t work either. Felix has given up 30 vs. 27 for Tanaka and when you consider the two extra starts at this point for Felix, it’s a dead heat.
Hits allowed? Well, I think you have the same problem. Hernandez has given up 96 hits to Tanaka’s 92 and with the two extra starts, yes, you’ve heard this story before.
Strikeouts! Yes, that will pull the scale one way or the other, right? Nope, Felix has 137 and Tanaka 127. One more time I get to say it: Felix has two more starts. Kiss your sister one more time.
Let’s think outside the box on this one a bit.
First, let me address some NY media scuttle that the Yankees might shoe horn Tanaka’s starts around the All-Star game so that he can’t pitch in the game anyway.
If the Yankees did that the Japanese media would crush them and I honestly don’t think the Yankees are that dumb anyway so don’t let those rumors get into your head very far.
Here is something I think is far more interesting to consider. The funny thing is, I mentioned it at the top of the story. Did you see it, or did I throw one by you?
John Farrell of the Red Sox is the 2014 AL All-Star Team Manager. And it’s his decision. Do you really think a Red Sox skipper is going to name a Yankee the All-Star Game starter?
Insert evil laugh here.
I think not, and why? Because it will seriously tick off the Yankees and their fans.
Now, before you start writing me hate mail about how Felix got the start because he earned it not because of some age old feud between the Yankees and Red Sox let me stop you right there.
Felix Hernandez has earned this honor this year. If he gets it, he deserves it, and there’s not a doubt in my mind when I say that. What I am saying is that if all things are equal come decision time, this could be the deal breaker.
Either way, Felix is having one incredible season. I suspect we’ll be there at the end of the year discussing who should get the AL Cy Young between these two as well and why not?
These two guy are putting together seasons for the record books. Watch and enjoy the ride.