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Felix Update

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I wrote four days ago about Mariner pitcher Felix Hernandez’s excellent season, with some especially strong performances in recent weeks, suggesting that he just might deserve the American League Cy Young award, even if few are paying attention. It seems I was premature. People are indeed taking note.

On Monday, at the Sports Illustrated website, Cliff Corcoran took a look at the Cy Young candidates, ranking the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia first and Felix second. He called Felix “the AL’s most consistently dominant pitcher of 2010.” Corcoran continues:

Unfortunately, he plays for the team with the worst offense in baseball and has received just 3.15 runs per game of support (barely more than half of what the Yankees have scored for Sabathia). Hernandez doesn’t lead the league in any major category, is struggling to keep his record near .500, and does have 14 unearned runs on his ledger, but he’s also leading the majors in quality starts (25 in 28 turns) and quality start percentage (89 percent), and he ranks second in the league in strikeouts and complete games, and third in ERA.
Since his last non-quality start on June 8, Hernandez has posted a 1.52 ERA and 4.70 K/BB in 15 starts, including four complete games. Yet, he has won just seven games over that stretch while losing five. According to Baseball Prospectus’s support-neutral wins, he would have 17 or 18 wins right now had he had received merely league-average run support. (Sabathia would have 16.) If that had been the case, King Feliz would be the hands-down favorite to win this award.

The next day — two nights ago — Felix pitched seven shutout innings against the Angels, giving up 3 hits while striking out 8. In the 8th, the Angels scored a run, but the Mariners scored 3, winning the game. Felix, however, remained at 10-10, even as he lowered his ERA to 2.38 and increased his strikeout total to 200. He leads the league in strikeouts and innings pitched, while sitting just behind Clay Buchholz in ERA.

At SI today, Joe Lemire also remarks on Felix’s recent excellence:

Hot streaks can get buried when they don’t happen at the start of the season. Everyone knew Ubaldo Jimenez was 6-0 with a 0.87 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 41-1/3 innings in his first six starts because those numbers doubled as his season stats. Mariners ace Felix Hernandez had an even more impressive streak recently that escaped attention because of poor run support and it’s late in the season. In August, King Felix started six times, but was only 3-2 even though he had an 0.82 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 43-2/3 innings, better numbers than Jimenez’s that seemed less dramatic because they merely dropped Hernandez’s season ERA from 2.79 to 2.38.

Meanwhile Sabathia won his 19th tonight against 5 losses, pitching 8 shutout innings and giving up just 1 hit, in the opening at-bat of the 2nd inning. If the season ended today, he would surely win the Cy Young. But there’s a month to go. Let’s see how it goes.

Categories: Baseball

Generation Gap!

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Startling news in the Personal Journal section of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: there’s a generation gap. Jeffrey Zaslow reports that

Older people have always offered advice to younger people, with words of wisdom culled from their memories of youth. And, of course, in every era, young people have found advice from elders to be outdated and ineffectual. These days, however, given how fast the world is changing, there’s been a clear widening of the advice gap.

in the next paragraph, Zaslow explains that “On many fronts, people from Generation Y—now ages 16 to 32— assume their peers know best. They doubt those of us who are older can truly understand their needs and concerns.”

Can it be true? Let me read that last sentence again. They doubt those of us who are older can truly understand their needs and concerns. I had no idea.

Okay, I’ll stop the sarcasm. But really, this is news? We — the generation that didn’t trust anyone over 30 — need to be told that our kids think we don’t understand them? And this is somehow related to “how fast the world is changing”? Didn’t people 40-50 years ago say that the world was changing fast? Didn’t they also say so 100 years ago? 150 years ago?

Accompanying the article is a box with “tips from young adults for their advice-giving elders.” As the father of a 23-year-old, I might want to study this closely. Here are the tips:

  • Question your assumptions: What worked in your youth might have little relevance today.
  • Offer suggestions, not pronouncements: Say ‘you could’ not ‘you should.’
  • Welcome a dialogue: Listen, don’t lecture; you’ll learn things and give better advice.
  • Resist saying: ‘When I was young…’
  • Don’t belittle technology: If you’re critical of social media, young people may dismiss you as a dinosaur.
  • Accept your limitations: The young understand the world today. Sometimes, the best advice is: ‘Trust your instincts.’
  • I’m going to have a hard time giving up item 4. There’s nothing I love more than saying to Joel, “When I was your age, … ” Of course, I do so ironically, but somewhere within the irony is truth trying to come out. But I must say, I’m not convinced by the first and last items. I don’t doubt that the young have wisdom, but one can’t deduce from that that we don’t. What could it possibly mean that the young understand the world today? Does anyone understand the world? Could a more careful statement be made here?

    Well, anyway, I’m probably giving this article more attention than it deserves. Joel, when you read this post, could you tell me what I’m missing? Thanks.

    Categories: Journalism, Life