The Seattle Mariners are now 6-3 which is tied for the third-best record after nine games in franchise history. It is indeed still too early to say whether they are contenders or not things are clicking early for the franchise. Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has been beyond dominant thus far and it is important for him to maintain this dominance if they want to compete in the American League West this season.
After King Felix's most recent performance Friday night against the Athletics, where he struck out 11 in a dominating four-hit, two-run performance over seven-plus innings. The 28-year-old Hernandez has half of his team's victories, with a 3-0 record to go along with a 2.11 ERA. For the first time in his 10-year Major League career he has won his first three starts. In his two meetings against the A's so far he has allowed just three runs and only 10 hits with one walk and 19 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings (Via mlb.com). Also, Friday night Felix reached double-digit strikeouts for the 28th time in his career and already the second time this season. It was the 28th time in his career he struck out 10 or more batters and 25th since 2009. The 25 starts with 10 strikeouts or more since 2009 are the second most in baseball behind one-time teammate Cliff Lee, who has 26.
As long as Hernandez is pitching at this level the Mariners will be tough to beat. Some may say he has always been this dominant which may be the case, but the overbearing dominance he is displaying right now is almost something we have yet to see from him. The Cy Young Award is definitely on Felix's mind since he was snubbed from it last season by Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer's freakishly phenomenal performance last season.
It is hard to imagine a pitcher with the type of talent Hernandez has with only one Cy Young award in his career, back in (2010). This season he seems well prepared enough win his second if he continues to dominate the AL west.
If he performs like he has thus far all season the Award will be his to lose. The pitching by Hernandez is creating a winning atmosphere in Seattle and will hopefully improve the team even more moving forward. The new improvements made to their hitting lineup such as signing free agent second baseman Robinson Cano will help back up not only King Felix, but the rest of the pitching staff. If the lineup does produce well the team will then be able to compete for an American League West Division title.
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