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Seahawks Lose Two Key Players, Felix Loses Cy Young

The Seahawks' schedule is about to get tougher, and the timing couldn’t be worse. They learned this week that they’ll be without two key players for the rest of the season.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel said it’s bad news as the team heads to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Sunday.

Art also says Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez narrowly losing his bid for a second Cy Young Award was "a little bit unfair."Seahawks: Harder Schedule Without Two Stars

The Seahawks are taking a three-game winning streak into the very loud Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. But Art says the wins haven't exactly been against powerhouses: Panthers, Raiders and Giants.

"The competition hasn’t been very good for the Seahawks and now they run into a stretch of seven games — their final seven in the season — where they are against quality opposition," he said.

“And now they’re missing two great players – Brandon Mebane on the defensive line and tight end Zach Miller.”

Mebane: 'Quiet Team Leader'

Art says Mebane was the heart and soul of the defensive line.

"He plays an unglamorous position, nose tackle. He does it better than anybody in the league. His main task is to absorb two blockers at once so the linebackers can come in and stop rushing plays or sack the quarterback.

“Mebane has been everybody’s hero on that defense. To lose him was a major blow, the worst one so far for the defense.”

Mebane is the most senior member of the Seahawks, playing for eight seasons.

“He’s an asset that has gone under appreciated. But now that he’s gone, everybody appreciates him," Art said.

Chiefs Will Be Tough

According to Art, the Seahawks are "going to have their hands full trying to come out of Kansas City with a win.”

He says can’t rely as heavily on their running game as they did against the Giants when running back Marshawn Lynch scored a career-high four touchdowns and Russell Wilson ran in the fifth TD.

Art says Wilson is going to have to step up his passing game, which has been sub-par the last four games.

“If they can pull this one out, it’s going to be a hallmark for the season," he says.

Felix Hernandez Loses Out On Second Cy Young

Switching gears from football to baseball, Art shared his thoughts on Mariners star pitcher Felix Hernandez missing out on what would've been the second Cy Young Award of his career. 

He came in a close second this week in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

“I think a lot of people here are going to be rightly disappointed," Art said. "But I don’t agree with the notion that there’s any bias in this nor were baseball writers were foolish or stupid in voting for (Cleveland’s) Corey Kluber, who won. He is a very good pitcher. The stats were so close on these guys.

“Felix did have a stretch that was historic in this season. He had 16 games in which he pitched at least seven innings and gave up two or fewer runs. That’s never been seen before in Major League history. That was a remarkable feat.”

Hernandez also won the American League ERA title this season. But, as far as Cy Young voting goes, Art says he got downgraded for one bad inning.

“He gave up eight runs in a game Sept. 23 in Toronto. A lot of people remember that because the Mariners were in a pennant race. So, that one inning cost him the Cy Young. I think that was a little bit unfair," he said.“It is not that the other pitcher didn’t deserve it. It’s just that Felix came in a very close second, thanks to one bad inning.”

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You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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