Joe Morgan may be gone, but his ignorant spirit lives on. Murray Chass and Phil Rogers wonder how in the world Hernandez could be the best pitcher if he didn't have the most wins. Yes, we're still having this damn discussion.
Murray Chass is bordering on senility, so we'd be more willing to give him a pass if he hadn't been pulling this shit for the last 90 years. He takes issue with Hernadez winning the Cy Young with "only" 13 wins.
The Seattle right-hander had the league's lowest earned run average, 2.27; the lowest opposing batting average, .212; the most innings pitched, 249 1/3, and missed by two of having the most strikeouts (232). What he didn't have was wins. When he won his last start of the season, he finished above .500 at 13-12.
Just a few years ago a pitcher with a 13-12 record would never have been considered for the Cy Young award. But last year Zack Greinke won the A,L, award with 16 victories and Tim Lincecum won his second straight National League award with 15 wins.
The development, I believe, is directly related to the growing influence of the new-fangled statistics which readers of this site know I have no use for, a fact that sends stats-freak denizens of the blogosphere into a stats-freak frenzy.
Yes, writers are falling for "new-fangled" (I love the Montgomery Burns-esque practice of hyphenating words that don't need it) statistics like ERA, and strikeouts. Clearly everyone's been seduced by the machine!
Besides his otherwise impressive statistics, the best argument Hernandez has going for him is his lack of run support. Elias Sports Bureau says the Mariners' 3.06 runs per Hernandez start was the A.L.'s lowest. The Mariners say in Hernandez's 12 losses, the team scored a total of seven runs while he was in the game.
I accept that those figures represent terrible run support and would make it difficult for any pitcher to win. But not impossible. I have long believed that good pitchers find a way to win. Two examples:
Steve Carlton compiled a 27-10 record in 1972 for a Phillies team that otherwise had a 32-87 record. Carlton led the league with a 1.97 e.r.a., 30 complete games, 310 strikeouts and 346 1/3 innings pitched.
Murry Dickson was a 20-game winner for one of the most inept teams in history, the 1951 Pirates, whose 64-90 record belied their level of talent. The only reason they didn't finish last was Dickson's 20 wins.
Both Carlton and Dickson had more run support than Hernandez, but both found ways to win in spite of the teams they played for.
Well, fuck. I didn't realize that. And now, reading the fine print on the BBWAA website, I see that the criteria for the Cy Young award is to have pitched better than pitchers decades ago did. In light of this, they probably shouldn't have given Hernandez the 1951 and 1972 Cy Young awards last week.
Chass is going to go apeshit when he hears that Joey Votto won MVP, despite his .324/37/113 line paling in comparion to Ted Williams's 1947 season.
But Hernandez winning handily wasn't enough to silence him. Not learning that being in the extreme minority probably means you're wrong, Chass took to his blog-that's-not-a-blog to trumpet the fact that he had found other writers who didn't vote for Hernandez! Which brings us to the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers, who's just a durned fool.
"I wonder how much of it was bullying on the Internet," opines Rogers. "There were a lot of columns written in September saying no one should be stupid enough not to vote for Felix. Maybe that's what happened, but I hope not."
Gentlemen, you're both right. This young turks, with their crazy robot numbers like "WHIP" and "opponents' batting average," have fallen under the spell of the Matrix. But rather than keeping it to themselves, they've launched a campaign to shame any other writers who don't care worship at the same digital altar. This is Internet bullying, plain and simple. Countless of our beat reporters have tragically taken their own lives because Joe Posnanski tried to explain to them how VORP is calculated.
Don't worry Phil, Murray. It gets better.