Last Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Pirates was just another example of how Felix Hernandez is not getting the run support he needs or deserved. He had to hold the Pirates to one run over eight innings to avoid, as Mitch Levy put it, “getting Felixed”. Throughout his entire career, Felix has not gotten the same run support as not only other pitchers in the league, but other pitchers on the team. Perhaps this is just perception, but the statistics show that he really is getting very little support. In six of his eight starts this season, the Mariners have scored three runs or less, and in three of those six they have scored two or less. It is not only that however. In the three games Felix has started that the Mariners have not won, the team scored three runs twice, and one in the other game. Additionally, all three of these games were one run losses. This wouldn't be so hard to take if the Mariners were actually better. They are under five hundred, as seems to be the norm recently, and over a fourth of their losses are one or two runs games. Furthermore, the knock on Felix’s Cy Young bid every season is that he doesn't have a high enough win total, even though his other numbers are near or at the top of the league. If the M’s offense could simply produce at a league average level on a consistent basis for Felix, he would earn many more wins.
Felix wishes his offense could spare him a few runs to work with.
One interesting note about Felix and his success is that his WAR (wins above replacement) is only 2.5. Although I am not an expert on this statistic, it would seem that leading the American League in ERA, is second in WHIP, tied for third in strikeouts, and second in strikeout to walk ratio would be worth more 2.5 wins above the average starter. The real issue however is that Felix has to avoid “getting Felixed” seemingly every start. Although he is on a really hot four-start stretch, he won’t be able to hold offenses to one run or less every game. When he cools off a little bit the team will really be in trouble. If the pattern of run support, or lack thereof continues, we won’t even be able to win games when Felix does start. This article is as much a praise of Felix as it is a challenge to our offense. It is really time for the offense to step up. Almost a fourth of the way through the season, and after starting the season around the middle of the pack, the Mariners have regressed back to the norm for them, and are second to last in the league in average and runs scored. The Mariners have managed to hang around and are now just three games below five hundred even with this crappy offense, so if they can finally step up a little bit I don’t see why this team can’t break through. So this is my official challenge to the offense. Step up. Make progress. Let’s finally get a winning season again.
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