Making a Cy Young pitch for Felix

It doesn’t rival the hype generated by NCCA institutions for the Heisman Trophy, but various MLB public relations departments are beginning to go the extra mile to draw attention to their particular player(s) for post-sesason awards.

The Mariners have jumped into the fray, touting right-hander Felix Hernandez for the AL Cy Young Award.

And why not?

The usually-biased East Coast voters should know, for example:

* In 30 starts, King Fellix is 15-5 with a 2.52 ERA.

* Leads all American League starters with 25 quality starts and has the lowest opponents batting average — .228.

* Ranks second in the AL in ERA (2.52), tied for third in starts (30), tied for fourth in wins (15), fourth in strikeouts (193), and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings pitched. (8.38).

* Is the only pitcher to rank in the top five in the AL in each of the three pitching “Triple Crown” categories — wins ERA and strikeouts.

* Has recorded a quality start in 20 of his last 21 outings.
* Since May 24, is 11-1 with a 1.91 ERA, has a 137-45 strikeout-walk ratio and a .213 opposing batting average.
* Leads the AL with seven starts of at least 7.0 shutout innings.

* With seven more strikeouts, and assuming he finishes with an ERA below 3.00, will become just the second pitcher in club history to post a season of 200 innings, 200 strikeouts, 15 wins and a sub-.300 ERA. Randy Johnson accomplished this in 1995 and ’97, winning the Cy Young Award in ’95.

The Big Unit remains as the Mariners’ only Cy Young Award winner.

Felix can make another strong pitch to become the second on Friday night with a strong performance against the Yankees at Safeco Field.

— Jim Street

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