It has been another stellar season from Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, but his bid for another Cy Young has been derailed. First, Hernandez’s win-loss record took a significant hit with four consecutive losses, and now, his upcoming start has been pushed back due to injury concern.
MLB.com is reporting that Hernandez has a lower back cramp, but as mild as that may sound, the team has plans to delay his next start from Sunday until Wednesday. It is probably wise for the Seattle organization to take every precaution available with their prize right-hander, and they are seemingly ignoring Felix’s claims that he is ready to pitch on schedule.
For the season, “King Felix” has a 3.01 ERA (2.69 xFIP) to go along with stellar rates of 9.26 strikeouts per 9 innings, and 1.90 walks per 9 innings. He has posted nearly 6 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs, and with nearly a month still left in the season, it is possible that he could post a career-high in that category despite the setback.
The Mariners won’t need a diagnosed “replacement” for Hernandez, as they’ve already turned to a 6-man rotation, but his absence will be felt for as long as he remains on the shelf. He is the crown jewel of that organization, and it is actually encouraging to see them being careful.