Seattle Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma Is an American League Cy Young Award Candidate

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Steven Bisig- USA TODAY Sports

Pitching has not been easy for Seattle Mariners’ right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma so far this season. Iwakuma has been dealing with a blister problem on his throwing hand since spring training and has delayed his next start by two days, but it is not expected to be a major problem for the veteran.

Even with this blister, Iwakuma has dominated through his first six starts of the 2013 season, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.67 ERA in 37 innings pitched, one of the best marks in the MLB through the first month of the season.

Iwakuma has baffled some of the best lineups in baseball, throwing six or more innings with three or less earned runs allowed in each of his starts, including matchups against the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers.

I understand that is only one month of a very long season, but I think Iwakuma has a legitimate chance to make a run at the American League Cy Young award based on what he has done so far. The only thing that could prevent Iwakuma from being a candidate is his innings pitched.

Iwakuma is averaging a little over six innings per start, which projects him for about 198 innings if he makes the typical 32 starts that a pitcher makes in a season, not exactly Justin Verlander type numbers.

The right-hander has not thrown more than 93 pitches in any of his first six outings, but he has been lifted early a few times due to concern over his blister. So once the blister seizes to be a problem, Iwakuma will be able to go deeper into games.

I am excited to see what Iwakuma will look like when he is at 100 percent, if this is how good he is when dealing with a blister on his throwing hand.