Felix Hernandez returns to the mound for his 12th Season in Seattle. Is this the year he takes the Mariners to the postseason?
The long-time Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, will more than likely return to the #1 rotation spot for this season. However, Hernandez posted his highest ERA since 2007 last season and gave up the most home runs of his career. These uncharacteristic numbers beg the question, what can we expect from King Felix this season?
The former Cy Young winner deemed his performance in 2015 “unsatisfactory” and since then has been working on new mechanics to improve his dominance. New manager Scott Servais makes sure to stay in close touch with Felix Hernandez, as they both figure out the best way to prepare for Opening Day and bounce back from a shaky season.
Hernandez is set to start on Opening Day in Arlington against the Rangers. Opening Day is important for Felix to turn this slump around. Traditionally, he has been lights-out when starting on Opening Day with a 6-0 record and a 1.49 ERA. But after 11 seasons of being one of the league’s top arms, hitters will be sure to take extra notes before coming to the plate. The recent decrease in efficiency from Felix suggests he may have seen his prime.
Hernandez recently pitched in a simulation game with minor league players. After only two innings on the mound, The King announced himself court-ready. Hernandez will start against the Rockies on Monday in his Cactus League debut, giving him a good chance to fine tune his new mechanics before the big stage is upon us.
“I’m just staying closed, not opening up on the front side,” Hernandez said. “It feels different, but it feels good, too. Last year I was inconsistent. I left a lot of balls up and gave up a lot of homers. I decided to keep the ball down and fix my mechanics.”
Hernandez has gone to the All-Star Game 6 times and is a Cy Young winner, yet has never seen the light of the post season. Early Spring Training games are showcasing a revamped offense to back up the King. Felix Hernandez deserves a world series trophy and this could be his season.