Lack of Mariners Run Support Made Felix Hernandez Deserving Cy Young Winner

King Felix has finally earned his crown. The 24-year-old right-hander from Venezuela was announced as the American League Cy Young Award winner on Thursday. With just a 13-12 record his Cy Young victory symbolizes a major league change in the game. What’s at stake anymore? Is it fantasy or is it real?

Mathematicians using sabermetrics are now imperative for every team to utilize in the decision making process. What used to be the ultimate purpose of the game — earning a win — has become just another number. A guy that 20 years ago may have been cast upon the scrap heap has gained new found value. Players are being judged in ways old scouts never would have dreamed. Mathematical formulas and graphs are now so intertwined its hard to tell the difference between a baseball scout and a computer programmer.

It’s hard to argue against wins being the most important stat. What else are they wearing those funny looking uniforms for?

Due to the nature of a team game, however, wins must be earned by the entire team, as a team. A pitcher cannot win if his team does not score runs. That is the tragic burden piled upon the pitching arm of Felix Hernandez. In his 12 losses, his team scored a total of seven runs while he was in the game. It’s going to be tough to win with run support like that, no matter who you are.

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Buster Posey Over Jason Heyward for Rookie of the Year Was Easy Call

The tally for rookie of the year voting balloting came in Monday and, shockingly, for the first time in recent memory, the East Coast sporting bias did not rule the day. The National League award went to San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, the spark plug for the eventual World Series champions. The American League trophy went to Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who broke the rookie save record with 40 and helped his team reach the World Series.

Although the credibility of all postseason awards took a blow with the preposterous selection of Derek Jeter as the Gold Glove winner for the second straight year, Posey and Feliz were the obvious choices for ROY. And that was despite the tremendous media pressure — ESPN included — for the honor in the senior circuit to go to the young player hyped as the savior of baseball, perhaps the next Hank Aaron, Jason Heyward.

Heyward had a terrific season, batting .277 with 18 home runs, 77 RBIs and 11 stolen bases, but he was not the best rookie in the National League this year. That distinction belonged to Buster Posey by far.

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Golden State Warriors Are No Longer Irrelevant in the NBA

Golden State Warrior basketball is back baby! With the Warriors beating the New York Knicks 122-117 on Wednesday night, they improved their record to 6-2, their best start in 16 years since they began the 1994-1995 campaign 7-2. The team has been completely rebuilt from the top down. The greatest thing to happen to Warrior basketball finally unfolded this past summer: the worst owner in basketball, (well LA’s Donald Sterling might have something to say about that) Chris Cohan, finally sold the team. The years of being cheap, making mind-numbing front office decisions, and not caring about winning appear to be over.

The new owners, Peter Guber and Joe Lacob quickly showed they were serious about winning when they fired all time coaching wins leader Don Nelson and ate the remaining dollars on his deal. Nelson was generally tuned out by the third quarter last season with thoughts of his post game drink. He seems like a whiskey sour kind of guy to me. Assistant Coach Keith Smart took over and has instilled his own philosophy with the team, stressing more attention to defense and rebounding.

In addition to the owner and coach, the Warriors completely changed their roster this summer, electing to build around rising super star Steph Curry. They acquired All-Star power forward David Lee from the Knicks in exchange for Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph and Kelenna Azubuike in a sign-and-trade. Lee is the type of player the Warriors have been missing in past seasons; capable of banging with the best bigs in the league, Lee is a stat stuffer who averaged a double-double last season.

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Matt Cain Finally Got Some Run Support

The phrase “Cained” has been springing up throughout major league clubhouses over the past few years as a word to describe losing a close ball game, perhaps 1-0, or 2-1. This has come about in reference to Matt Cain, the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher. For those who watch him on a regular basis he is truly the man that makes the Giants staff go. When he takes the ball every fifth day, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. In a rotation with two former Cy Young award winners and a wicked lefthander with a no-hitter under his belt, Cain stood out this season as the only pitcher to record an ERA under 4 for every month of the year, finishing at 3.14. Go figure.

Over the past 4 seasons just 17 pitchers have compiled an ERA under 3.50. All of them except for Cain have winning records. Most are not even close to .500. But Cain is just 42-47. He is known for losing the close ball game. For whatever reason, the Giants hitters simply have not been able to come up with the big hit when they need it with Cain on the mound. Hence getting “Cained.”

In game 3 of the 2010 NLCS, Matt Cain had the fortune of ending up on the other side of a pitcher getting “Cained” as he shutout the Phillies for 7 innings en route to a 3-0 Giants win. It was his coming out party. Cain dominated Phillies hitters on a national stage, locating his fastball with precision, mixing in some deadly sliders, a hard-breaking curve, and a sinking changeup.

Cole Hamels wasn’t so lucky. Hamels looked nearly un-hittable through 4, but the Giants’ sporadic offense picked the perfect time to try and earn Matt Cain a new nickname. Cody Ross delivered another clutch hit to give the Giants a lead Cain would not relinquish. Maybe next year they can start to call it getting “Hameled.”

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu