Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. That much is certain. As the Mariners fight for a playoff spot, they need Hernandez to be King Felix more than ever.
This is why you have an ace. The ace is paid to win big games, and this is the time of year where every single game counts.
The Mariners are currently tied for the second Wild Card spot with the Kansas City Royals. The Oakland A’s are a half game ahead of the Mariners, and the Detroit Tigers are a half game ahead of the Royals for first place in the American League Central.
Translation? Three playoff spots up for grabs. Four teams. Who will be left without a chair when the music stops?
More from Seattle Mariners
- Seattle Mariners trade James Paxton. Deja vu or re-imagining?
- Seattle Mariners: November mailbag – Face of the franchise and more
- Seattle Mariners: Zunino part of 5 player swap. What it means for the M’s.
- Seattle Mariners: Mitch Haniger, and Edgar Martinez headed to Japan
- Seattle Mariners: Trading for Joc Pederson from L.A. – 3 scenarios
Lest we forget, the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees are lurking in the weeds. Oh, and the Mariners play seven of their last 16 games against the 92-55 Los Angeles Angels. Ugh.
Back to the original point: King Felix.
Obviously everyone needs to pitch well in the final games, but Hernandez is the key. If he can have strong starts, it will set the tone for the rest of the staff.
There is some concern about Hernandez, simply because he pitches so many innings in a season. Right now he is at 212 innings pitched, 47 more than the next guy on the list (Hisashi Iwakuma). In fact, King Felix has thrown the fourth-most innings in all of baseball this year (David Price is first with 226.2 IP).
The King is a workhorse, but the M’s need him fresh for the playoffs. You don’t want your No.1 pitcher to hit a wall in the last week of the season.
Right now, Hernandez is penciled in for three more starts. After that, the final two games may be up in the air depending on where the Mariners are in the standings. When we get to that point, the Mariners will need to decide how to set up the rotation.
The King’s Court should be rocking tonight as the Mariners looks to catch and overtake the A’s. Here’s hoping that the King gives the fans something to celebrate.