Hisashi Iwakuma is highly unlikely to win the American League Cy Young Award when votes are handed in this weekend.

For one thing the Mariners starter would have to halt the runaway freight train named Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers whose 21-3 record and strong secondary numbers have made him a Cy Young favorite for most of the season. Iwakuma was mentioned earlier this season in Cy Young discussions but faded midyear and only really began making his case anew these past few weeks.

But even if Iwakuma can’t generate enough last-minute support to stop Scherzer’s momentum his numbers – traditional and sabermetric – are still strong enough to rank among the league’s best.

“First and foremost like I said in spring training one of my goals was to stay healthy through the long course of the season and stay in the rotation for a long time during the season’’ Iwakuma said Wednesday night through interpreter Antony Suzuki after tossing eight scoreless innings to defeat the Kansas City Royals and improve to 14-6 in his final outing of the year. “I accomplished that goal with 200-plus innings so I’m very happy with that.’’

Iwakuma is only the fifth Japanese starter to surpass 200 innings in the majors. His outing against the Royals upped his innings count to 2192 / 3 second in the league by just two innings to James Shields of the Royals and better than the 2141 / 3 posted by Scherzer.

In terms of earned-run average Iwakuma finishes at 2.66 which is just behind the league-leading 2.64 of both Bartolo Colon of the Athletics and Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers while Scherzer sits fifth at 2.90. But Colon faces the Mariners on Friday while Sanchez pitches on Saturday meaning Iwakuma could very well be the league leader in ERA by the time the season ends.

Typically being the league leader in ERA and top-two in innings pitched would garner someone plenty of Cy Young consideration. Especially given how voters have de-emphasized wins the past few years since Felix Hernandez captured the Cy Young with just 13 victories in 2010.

But Scherzer still has plenty of other traditional statistics going like his 240 strikeouts – second only to fellow Cy Young hopeful Yu Darvish of the Rangers at 269. Iwakuma has logged 185 strikeouts but sits well back of Scherzer Darvish and another potential Cy Young darkhorse Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.