Is there speculation around King Felix?

Updated: August 16, 2015
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Since June 1, Felix Hernandez has recorded quality starts in eight of the 15 games he has started. During that time, he’s allowed four or more runs in six of those and seven or more in three of those outings. Out of those 15 games, he’s only managed to record eight or more strikeouts twice and has failed to hit the double-digit mark in any of those starts. In fact, he’s recorded five or less strikeouts eight times during that stretch.

We’re just breaking the surface and it’s already beginning to sound like something’s wrong with King Felix. This is not the same Felix we’re used to. He has become “Average Felix.”

If you take his overall numbers and hold them up to the light, they aren’t terrible. He’s sporting a 3.65 ERA and a 14-7 win-loss record on the year, which isn’t exactly terrible. But, when you break his performance down into halves, you start noticing the monumental drop-off. It nearly smacks you in the face.

May 27 was his last start before the absolutely dreadful game against the New York Yankees on June 1, at home, may I add. On May 27, King Felix was 8-1 with two complete-game shutouts and a 1.91 ERA. Since the horrendous outing against the Yankees, his ERA has nearly doubled. His 6-6 record during that time frame doesn’t nearly tell the complete story, considering he’s already allowed as many home runs this year (16) as he has the previous two years, he’s three walks away from surpassing his walk totals the last two years and he’s hosting a K/9 under 9.0 for the first time since 2012.

Again we ask, what’s wrong with King Felix? He’s clearly having issues with his command, as influenced by the ridiculous number of walks he’s issued over the last 15 games. He’s missing his marks, reflected by the number of home runs he’s allowed this year. And to top it all off, he’s not sporting the Felix-esque efficiency that we’ve grown adapted to seeing. In nine of the last 15 games, he hasn’t managed to reach seven innings before being yanked from the mound, which isn’t normal.

With all this in front of us, there are only two possible scenarios that we see fit at the moment:

  1. He’s injured and hasn’t told anyone, or the Seattle Mariners might be keeping it secret at the moment.
  2. He’s finally hitting a wall at 29 due to the sheer volume of innings pitched over the last eight years.

It’s a substantial number of innings pitched to say the least. He’s reached 232 innings in five of the last seven years, not including his current season, where he’s managed to throw 153. It’d probably be more if he weren’t allowing 10 earned runs per outing. But, we digress.

If you’re a Mariners fan or simply love the guy, keep an eye on the situation because there’s more to this than the team is revealing. While there is a chance it could simply be a down year for Hernandez, it’s highly unlikely. King Felix has grouped himself in a special tier of pitchers where it’d seem very unlikely for him to regress in a short period of time like other pitchers have in the past, such as Tim Lincecum or Justin Verlander.

And, considering Hernandez has started 30 or more games in a single season every year, excluding his rookie year, it might be a safe bet that something may finally be affecting his body in a negative way. Is it fatigue or is it injury? We’ll keep our eyes peeled, but something just isn’t right with King Felix.

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