Mariners’ Hernandez would like to start All-Star game

SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez looms as a strong candidate to start the All-Star Game after closing out his pre-break work Friday with another strong performance in a 3-2 victory over Oakland.

He isn’t lobbying for the ball — he’s been choosing his words carefully — but Hernandez admits it would be “an honor” to start the game.

“I would love to do it,” he said. “We’ll see.”

American League manager John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox isn’t expected to announce a decision before Monday, but … well, you judge:

Hernandez is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA after limiting the A’s to two runs and six hits in eight innings. It marked his 11th straight start in which he has pitched at least seven innings while allowing fewer than three runs.

It is, by the numbers, the best first half of Hernandez’s 10-year career.

Consider some of those numbers:

Hernandez leads AL pitchers in innings; is tied for the lead in starts and win-loss percentage; and ranks second in wins, strikeouts and ERA.

Prefer the sabermetric stats?

Hernandez leads all AL pitchers in WAR (wins above replacement) and (deep breath) …

Fielding independent pitching, adjusted pitching runs, adjusted pitching wins, base-out runners saved, win probability added, situational wins saved, base-out wins saved and … you get the idea even if you don’t understand.

This is Hernandez’s fifth All-Star Game, which matches Randy Johnson’s club record for a pitcher. Johnson started the 1995 and 1997 games and, for now, remains the only Mariners pitcher to start an All-Star Game.

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