Felix Hernandez was named to the 2012 American League All-Star team, becoming the only member of the Seattle Mariners to achieve that honor. With the early struggles that Hernandez had this season, I didn't think that he would end up getting the selection. I guess that the name recognition that Hernandez has is good enough to garner the nod, though.
Hernandez has already stated that he wants to take part in the game this year. I definitely would like to see him get an inning or two in the game, especially if he isn't pitching in the game right before the All-Star break. He took part in the 2009 All-Star game, pitching a perfect inning on just seven pitches. Hopefully, he can find that same success again this year, possibly helping the AL to clinch home-field advantage in the World Series.
This hasn't been the best year for Hernandez, though he has definitely righted the ship in his last three starts. Giving up just 2 runs in his last 23 innings has helped Hernandez lower his ERA to 3.09 on the season. He also sports a 6-5 record, 114 strikeouts, and a nice WHIP of 1.22 to go along with it. His strikeout rate and ERA is much better than where it was at the end of the 2011 season, and, hopefully, he stays on that course for the rest of the season.
It's definitely too early to start talking about the 2012 Cy Young Award, but it's possible that Hernandez could pitch himself back into the conversation this year. Justin Verlander won it last year and has followed that up with a league-leading 121 strikeouts in 17 starts. That is one more than Hernandez has (coming into July 2), which means he could catch Verlander's strikeout numbers in his next appearance.
Leading the AL in wins is Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers and David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays with 11 each. Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox leads the AL in ERA at 2.27 and Jared Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels is right behind him at 2.31. None of those numbers is that far ahead of what Hernandez has posted so far, keeping hope alive that he can really turn it on down the stretch.
Making the 2012 All-Star team is the third time that Hernandez has been selected in his career.
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*Ryan is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan who never misses an opportunity to attend a game at Safeco Field. He has been attending games since 1985, and has fond memories of The Kingdome, Edgar Martinez, and the historic 1995 team. Sodo Mojo!