Felix Hernandez left with extra motivation after Cy Young snub

Nov 12, 2014, 5:16 PM | Updated: 6:13 pm
“That was tough, a little disappointing,” Felix Hernandez said after finishing second i...
"That was tough, a little disappointing," Felix Hernandez said after finishing second in Cy Young voting. (AP)
(AP)

It was assumed that the Cy Young vote would be close in the American League, but it was still a bit of an upset that Cleveland’s Corey Kluber won the award over Felix Hernandez.

Kluber finished with 10 more points and four more first-place votes (17-13) in the voting, which was carried out by two members from each chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The Seattle voters, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times and John McGrath of The News Tribune, voted for Hernandez.

“That was tough, a little disappointing. But you know what? It just gives me a little more motivation to work harder and just be better next year,” said Hernandez, who was on hand at Safeco Field for live interviews on the MLB Network prior to the announcement.

Hernandez had a fine season that featured a historic run from May 18 to Aug. 11 when he reeled off an MLB-record 16 consecutive starts in which he allowed two or fewer runs over at least seven innings, besting a mark that was held previously by Tom Seaver. When all was said and done, he allowed two or fewer runs in 25 of his 34 starts.

He led the league in ERA at 2.14 and opponents’ batting average at .200 while throwing the second-most innings, 236. He also had the lowest opponents’ on-base percentage at .243 (the third-lowest in DH era) and had an opponents’ OPS of just .546, which was 78 points lower than Kluber’s. Hernandez finished behind Kluber in strikeouts, 269 to 248, and Fielding Independent Pitching, 2.35 to 2.56.

With the numbers so close, park factors and defense could have come into play with Kluber getting credit for pitching in a more hitter-friendly park and Hernandez benefiting from a better defense. There is also the possibility that the deciding factor for a number of voters was Hernandez’s Sept. 23 start against Toronto in which he gave up four earned runs and eight in all. The analysts on the MLB Network’s award show did shine a spotlight on that start. Despite the stumble, Hernandez still allowed just seven earned runs in six September starts, three runs fewer than Kluber allowed that month.

Hernandez was admittedly disappointed but did meet with the media following the announcement. With his 5-year-old son Jeremy at his side and at times holding the recorders, Hernandez took questions about his performance and quickly turned the focus to next year.

“It means a lot but my goal is just to win the whole thing with this team right here, the Seattle Mariners,” he said. “The fans, they deserve it, the organization. Individual stuff doesn’t matter, this is a team.”

He is confident that the changes he made with his offseason workouts last winter was the key to staying healthy and having a strong year. He will stick with the same routine this winter, with one adjustment.

“I’m going to prepare harder,” he said. “I’m going to be in better shape and we will see what happens next year.”

I can’t wait for next year. It’s going to be a great year for the Seattle Mariners.”

Hernandez didn’t take home the hardware – although he did take a Players’ Choice Award and one from the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America – but there is no taking away what he did on the hill in 2014. There is no question in his mind that was the best so far, even better than 2010 when he won the Cy Young. There will be another chance next year, and he believes he can reach back for even more.

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Felix Hernandez left with extra motivation after Cy Young snub