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58-94, Game Thought

Scene thief
Scene thief

That's about as low as it gets. It helps, I suppose, that Felix wasn't at the tippy top of his game. He didn't strike out 15 guys. He didn't keep every single ball in the infield. He didn't have pinpoint command, as four Jays reached on walks. It's not like the Mariners wasted the best start Felix has ever made.

But, come on. Felix allowed two hits. He allowed two hits, and one run - a solo homer by the league's top homer hitter in the bottom of the first. Felix set his team up to win this game. And his team did nothing about it, against Shawn diddly god damned Hill. It's not like they were facing Roy Halladay, or Clay Buchholz, or Shaun Marcum, or whoever. This was Shawn Hill. This was a borderline junk-balling righty who couldn't cut it with the Nationals.

Nothing. This was the 34th time on the year that a pitcher has gone at least eight innings and allowed two hits. 28 of those times, the pitcher got the win. This should be a gimme. Against Shawn Hill, this should be a gimme. And yet, the Mariners let Felix down. For the seventh time this season, the Mariners failed to get Felix a win when he allowed two runs or less. And for the first time - rather surprisingly the first time - they went so far as to give him a loss.

That sucks. That's embarrassing. On a good team, or even on an average team, Felix could have 20 wins by now. Instead he has 12, to go nicely with his 12 losses. Felix has a worse record than Randy Wolf.

I'll say this - in a weird way, this game might actually help Felix's Cy Young case. Felix just lost 1-0 in a game against a bad pitcher. This was Felix's entire season in eight innings. The argument about the Cy Young and pitcher wins has been raging for several weeks, and this game lends the pro-Felix side a good deal of support. You can't get a win when your team doesn't score. This game keeps the matter of Felix's pathetic run support more fresh than, say, a 4-3 loss, or a 7-2 win, and that's critical for swaying the voters. The voters have to understand what Felix has been dealing with. This game - with its score, and its timing - helps.

And, if Felix ends up winning the Cy Young, then much of the frustration melts away. Why have we been frustrated over Felix's lack of wins? Because wins make Felix happy, and we like when Felix is happy. Why do wins make Felix happy? Because they aid in his pursuit of pitching's highest honor. By no means is it all about individual awards, but in a season like this, they certainly take on a greater importance. They help to motivate, in the absence of many other motivators. If Felix is able to take the Cy Young, then it won't really matter anymore how few wins he picked up, because those wins were just one means to an award-winning end. The award is the goal.

But sitting here, right now - how many of us feel real confident in Felix's chances? How many of us really believe that enough voters are going to overlook the low win total to give Felix the award he probably deserves? What makes this game frustrating is that we've seen it before. Even though this particular game may have helped Felix's chances more than hurt it, the fact that he's failed to earn a win on seven different occasions that he allowed two runs or less has definitely reduced his odds of winning overall. You know how often that's happened to CC Sabathia? Twice. Sabathia is 13-0 over 15 starts in which he allowed two or fewer runs. In Felix's 19 such starts, he's 12-1.

It isn't fair. You know who has the highest run support on the Mariners? Doug Fister. No offense to Doug Fister, but why not Felix?

The 2010 Seattle Mariners have had a number of failures. If it turns out they failed to score enough runs to get Felix Hernandez the AL Cy Young award in a magnificent season, that will stand as perhaps their greatest.