Ever since his MLB debut in 2005, the Seattle Mariners have had a poor offense that has struggled to support Felix Hernandez. The 27-year-old has always been a dominant pitcher, but this has not always been shown by his win total, which is normally low.
This was most evident in 2010, when Hernandez won the American League Cy Young award with an ERA of 2.27, but only recorded 13 wins in 34 starts. This low win total was a direct result of ridiculously low run support. The Mariners’ offense only gave Hernandez 3.07 runs per game on average and in ten games they scored one run or less.
The Mariners’ improved a little bit in 2012, giving “King Felix” 3.48 runs of support on average, but in more than half of his 34 starts they scored less than three runs.
Early on in the 2013 season, the story has not changed with an offense that was upgraded over the winter. In Hernandez’s first two starts, the Mariners have only scored a total of five runs.
This continued lack of run support puts a lot of pressure of Hernandez to pitch mistake-free, something he cannot always do. This point was proven in his start on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox.
Hernandez was given a one-run lead early on due to an error by White Sox first basemen Jeff Keppinger, but that was the only run of support Hernandez received in the six plus innings that he pitched. This turned every inning that Hernandez threw into pressure inning, even early in the game.
The native of Venezuela showed that he was in fact human on Saturday, giving up a total of four earned runs in the game.
Sometimes Hernandez is dominant enough that he only needs one run of support to win the game: five shutouts in 2012. However, this will not always be the case. The Mariners have done better offensively this year, averaging close to five runs a game, but they need to start hitting when Hernandez is on the hill.
Hopefully, Hernandez gets enough run support on Thursday when he attempts to win his 100th game for the second time against the Texas Rangers.