Mr. 2000: Felix Hernandez notches 2,000 career strikeouts
Felix Hernandez became the fourth-youngest player to record 2,000 strikeouts, and he did so in front of a Mother’s Day crowd that included a pink King’s Court section on Sunday. There is little doubt that Felix Hernandez can pitch, as he has dazzled the Seattle Mariners’ home crowd throughout his career, and even more so yesterday. He joined some quality names on the list of youngest players to record 2,000 strikeouts also. The other names on the list include Bert Blyleven, Sam McDowell, Randy Johnson (also a Mariner at one time), Nolan Ryan, and Sandy Koufax.
Felix Hernandez is having a stellar season thus far, posting a 6-0 record with a 1.85 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 50 strikeouts, and eight walks in seven starts. After finishing as runner-up in the AL Cy Young race last season, every Mariners fan knew he would come out dealing this season, especially with the likes of OF Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, and 2B Robinson Cano leading the charge on offense. While the offense has struggled at times this season, they have provided Felix Hernandez with less run support this season than last (4.14 runs/game 2015, 4.29 runs/game 2014). This is rather surprising, considering he has yet to lose this season, but his strikeout to walk ratio is higher in 2015 (6.25 K/BB) than it was in 2014 (5.39 K/BB).
Though he has yet to play ten full seasons in his career, Felix Hernandez is sitting at 2,001 strikeouts with his sights set on Nolan Ryan’s record of 5,714 strikeouts in a career. Many doubt that this record will ever be broken, and I agree, but Hernandez has the ability to get close to the record. I could see Felix Hernandez finishing in the Top 10 for career strikeouts by the time he decides to call it quits. It is a good thing that postseason stats don’t count towards career stats though, because Hernandez would be facing an even bigger hole since he has never been to the postseason.
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Yesterday was like any other day for Felix Hernandez; walk out to the mound in front of the King’s Court and other energized fans, toss around the rosin bag for a second, and then hurl another gem while lowering his ERA and notching several strikeouts. Hopefully the Seattle Mariners can get to the postseason while Felix Hernandez is still pitching for the them, because it would be nice to see him lead this team to a World Series title, one swing-and-a-miss at a time.
Do you think that Felix Hernandez will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Can he break the Top 10 in career strikeouts? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Dustin Brown covers the Seattle Mariners and Major League Baseball for MFST. You can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.