If he needed any extra incentive going forward, Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez found some on Wednesday when he finished second in the AL Cy Young voting.
”I don’t know what to say. That was tough,” Hernandez said after finishing 10 points behind Cleveland’s Corey Kluber in the voting. ”A little disappointed. Just give me more motivation to work harder and harder and be better next year.”
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Hernandez put together arguably the best season of his career, helping the Mariners finish with 87 wins and one game behind Oakland for the second AL wild-card spot.
King Felix went 15-6 with an AL-leading 2.14 ERA and 248 strikeouts in 236 innings. He set a major-league record when he pitched 16 straight games of seven or more innings and allowing two earned runs or fewer. It was a brilliant stretch from May to early August that put Hernandez in the lead for his second Cy Young Award.
Hernandez got 13 first-place votes and finished with 159 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of American. Kluber, who went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings, got the other 17 first-place votes and had 169 points.
Hernandez said he believed he pitched better this season than he did in 2010 when he won the Cy Young. Hernandez also finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2009 when he won a career-high 19 games and was fourth in 2012.
”I did. I had a great year,” Hernandez said. ”Health, I feel fine the whole year. … I think I pitched way better than 2010.”
The five-time All-Star from Venezuela pitched well in the final month, but may have lost out on the award because of his next-to-last start of the season in Toronto. With Seattle having dropped three straight and needing a win to stay with Oakland in the wild-card race, Hernandez lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays. He gave up eight runs – only four were earned – as the Mariners were routed 10-2.
It was Hernandez’s shortest outing of the season and the one of only three times all season giving up four or more earned runs.
Hernandez was diplomatic when asked if that start made the difference in the voting.
”I don’t know. Probably. Just one start. What can I say?” he said. ”They just vote. Not my fault. I just do my thing.”