Tagged: Blue Jays

The Zack Greinke For Cy Young Post

When talks about the AL and NL Cy Young awards comes up, the general consensus usually comes up with four or five solid candidates for the awards.  This season, there is no doubt that the NL race is between these three guys:

  • Tim Lincecum (SF)
  • Adam Wainwright (StL)
  • Chris Carpenter (StL)

So, that race is one in itself.  The AL race is a totally different race from my perspective.  There are so many quality guys in the AL that are worthy of the award but since I pretty much have to narrow it down to a few guys, I have come up with five guys that could possibly win it.

  1. CC Sabathia

Being a Yankee fan myself, you have to think I’m gonna start off with the top guy in the Yankees’ rotation.  And he is not just on this list because of where he plays.  He is a legitimate candidate.  Sabathia came just short of reaching twenty wins for the season when the Rays tore up the Yankees on Friday, 13-4.  CC just wasn’t on his game and unfortunately he was unable to make it to twenty wins.  That doesn’t mean his chance at winning Cy Young were shattered.  No it just means that he isn’t going to have the distinction of having twenty wins.  It’s alright.  Adam Wainwright was also denied twenty wins when he recorded a no decision in his final start of the regular season.

Sabathia has had the pleasure of playing in New York and behind an offense that is probably the best in the league at scoring runs.  That right field fence has looked great all year for Yankee hitters and he has really taken advantage of that.  His record to finish off the season is 19-8.  A solid record for any pitcher.  To get to 19 wins is a huge aspect of his Cy Young resume.  His 8 losses aren’t too bad a total but Sabathia definitely had some trouble at the beginning of the year that drew up that ugly loss total.

Sabathia’s ERA at the end of the season totals up at 3.37 which is a respectable one.  Any ERA below 3.50 is generally considered solid.  Sabathia has really picked it up toward the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year.  He had real trouble early and that is why his ERA after the first month of play was really high.

Sabathia also finished the season with 197 strikeouts.  He finished two complete games and one shutout.  Sabathia’s season was definitely worthy of a Cy Young award.  But personally, he would be my third choice for the award this year despite being a Yankee.  I know it’s unfortunate but I am making my picks according to how good they had over the season and Sabathia did not have the best season among the AL pitchers.

2.   Felix Hernandez

This young flamethrowing Mariner is a clear candidate for the Cy Young this year.  His season has included two complete games and one shutout.  He struck out 211 guys over the season.  And guess what… he still has one more start today.  Despite playing for a Mariners team that lacks much offense, other than Ichiro, Hernandez has done a great job of maintaining his success.  Hernandez has one more game to go but his current record is 18-5.  A record that is a little better than Sabathia’s.  Sabathia does have one more win than Hernandez but Hernandez has less losses.  It’s close but that is not the only thing that goes into account when thinking of a Cy Young resume.

Hernandez has a phenominal 2.38 ERA which to me is just fantastic considering he doesn’t get much run support from the M’s.  He really can control a game and knows how to get it done like the best of them…. wait a minute, he is one of the best of them.

Hernandez’s age is what is so amazing.  He is so successful so early in his career, this being his fifth year in the league.  He still has a long way to go and this success and poise he is showing now will surely get him into high places as his career goes on.

Hernandez also finished the season with 232 innings of work which is clearly more than any other guy on the Mariner rotation or bullpen.  He has really done something special in Seattle this year and he is a legitimate Cy Young candidate as well.  He is my second pick in this contest.

3.   Justin Verlander

Verlander has also had a fantastic season.  He has led that Tigers team back to the spotlight in the AL Central after a few really really really really… okay you get the point… bad years.  With the Tigers on the brink of a playoff birth, Verlander will be a key to the Tigers’ success if they get to the playoffs.

Verlander finished this season with a 19-9 record.  A very good one that easily compares with Sabathia’s and Hernandez’s that will go up as the top three records in the league.  Verlander has been a solid… more than solid… top of the rotation guy for the Tigers.  He has been the vocal point of this team all year.  The offense hasn’t been great but it has been good enough to support the pitching and Verlander hasn’t really needed all that support.  With the stuff he has, there isn’t really much you can do to support him other than put a single run up on the board.

Verlander always finishes at the top or near the top of the strikeout list.  This season, he finished with 264 and every one made the opposing batter just look back and think about how good the pitch was.  Verlander is that good.  You always have to include this flamethrower in the Cy Young conversation.  The only difference this year is that his team has been a little more successful and he has gotten more recognition that he has the past few years.  Verlander’s ERA was also fantastic this season at 3.45 which is a little lower than Sabathia’s.  To me, either him or Sabathia would go third in my voting but I would put Sabathia there because of the success of the Yankees this year.  Nothing against Verlander but they are both great performers.

Verlander also finished the season three complete games and one shutout.

4.   Roy Halladay

You always have to include Roy Halladay in the Cy Young talks no matter what.  He has had that kind of influence in this league since he came into it as a rookie.

Halladay’s numbers this year have been down and his Cy Young resume has decreased in value.  Much of this came from the constant rumors of his being traded at the deadline in the summer.  His performance surrounding the deadline shows many stats that are uncharacteristic of his career.  Some bad losses, tough ERA numbers.  And just about anything that can go wrong during an outing.  It happened to him.

Halladay didn’t have a terrible season though.  His record was 17-10 to finish the season.  Not terrible but a tough number of losses.  He probably could’ve come up with a win or two more but that was due to the trade rumors and the fact that the Jays had a tough time getting runs on the board over a period of time over the summer.

Halladay is the lowest on my list of candidates for every reason I explained to you now.  He finished with nine complete games and four shutouts, which are two stats he holds over the other candidates in this competition.  He struck out 208 guys which is a respectable number.  His season has been a generally good on but not a Cy Young good season.

Winner:  Zack Greinke

I know, I know he’s on the Royals.  But that is a key reason why he is the winner of this competition.  I mean come on… a Royals pitcher in this conversation?  That’s ridiculous.  Well, it’s not.  With the numbers he has put up this season, he is clearly the best pitcher in the AL.

His record doesn’t give him justice of how well he has pitched.  At 16-8, Greinke has lossed more games than he should have if he had more run support.  His ERA is a league low 2.16.  That just proves that he really didn’t get enough run support ot get the wins.  If he gave up one or two runs a game, he lost the game because of the lack of run support the Royals’ offense gave him.

Greinke also put up some good strikeout numbers finishing the season with 242.  He six complete games and three shutouts.  With the team he was pitching behind, I think it is possible that he could get a loss when he threw a shutout.  Just kidding but still, I’m just making a point.  Greinke’s season would’ve been no doubt a perfect Cy Young season if he was with any other team that could put up three or four runs a game of run support.  The Royals have had a tough history and Greinke has been unfortunate enough to be stuck on that team and be such a great pitcher.  With the talent he has, he is no doubt the Cy Young award winner in the AL this season.

P.S.  My NL Cy Young vote is Adam Wainwright.

-Dillon

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Cano is a Legitimate Bronx Bomber

He can get on base in a variety of ways

He can field second base with the best of them

He and Derek Jeter are the best double play team in the bigs

And Robinson Cano has developed into a legitimate power threat

The Bronx Bombers are exactly that… a group of dudes who where pinstripes and go yard a lot.  I mean, this year, the Yankees have six guys with at least 20 homers on the season.  Teixeira, Damon, Matsui, Swisher, Cano, and Rodriguez.  This is a Major League best and it just shows how the Yankees play the game of baseball.  Now, I know everyone will speculate that the reason the Yankees have so many home runs is because of that right field fence.  But the dimensions are the same from the old stadium.  It is really no different than the old stadium but because of the power surge, people are thinking that the right field fence is the reason so many baseballs have left the playing field in Yankee Stadium.

Cano has evolved as a very good second baseman that can play the field and can hit in a variety of ways.  He can hit for power and go yard, or he can get on base with a single of maybe a double down the line or in the gap.  Cano has really developed into a good hitter who can take his pitches and get on base by way of the walk.  This is a really powerful thing when a batter can take pitches and allow the opposing pitcher to walk him.  It’s a free base and it requires nio work on behalf of the batter.  Most of you who read my blog a lot would know by now that I hate walks with a passion.  But that is only if the Yankees’ pitchers walk opposing batters.  If Yankee batters are the ones being walked, I love the walk.  Check out how good they are here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH5G3R7810w

Since Cano has been up in the big leagues, he has partnered with Derek Jeter to become one of the best double play teams in the Major Leagues.  Derek Jeter has been doing it for years and now Cano has made this duo a great thing to watch.  It really is amazing how quickly and accurately these two guys turn two.  Jeter does a great job of getting to the ball.  He really takes advantage of his range at short.  He gets the ball to Cano pretty quickly and then Cano, who is the most important part of this duo, catches the ball and basically misdirects it towards first.  It is that fast.  I’m almost 100% sure that Cano is the fastest double play turner in the Majors.  I’ve never seen anyone even close to it.  It’s amazing.

Cano doesn’t have a ton of speed but he runs the basepaths like a true professional.  You rarely see him make a mistake on the paths; he always knows when to go and when to hold up.  He does have some speed and will use it if he really needs to get to the next base.  You won’t go to a Yankees game and expect to see Cano attempt to steal second.  It’s just not something the Yankees try to do with Cano.  It’s alright since the Yankees aren’t a running team. They rely on power and just pure hitting.  And they can get away with it too since they have the talent to do it.

I have begun to really like Cano over the past couple years.  He is really turning into a true pinstriper.  He’s great to watch and he is becoming more and more of an important hitter in the Yankees lineup.  Yeah, he’s batting fifth or sixth most of the time but that’s because they have other guys filling in the top of the order and that puts him in the middle to the backend of things.  That just shows how great the Yankees are.  Cano recorded his fourth career walk off hit on August 12th against the Jays.  With the game tied at three in the 11th inning, Cano sent a shot to right center field that just missed being a homer.  It hit off the wall and scored Alex Rodriguez from second.  Cano has become a huge force in the Yankees’ lineup and will continue to improve with experience.

Go Yanks!

-Dillon

Thoughts From 7/19/09

Top Thoughts:

  • Yankees Gain Two Games on Red Sox
  • Mets Have Serious Injury Problems
  • The Nats Suck
  • Halladay is a Stud
  • It is Possible to Have One Really Bad Game and Then Be STELLAR the Next Day

So Here we go on my thoughts from July 19th, 2009.

The Yankees have been absolutely phenominal lately.  They just finished a sweep of the Tigers to continue this hot streak of fantastic play.  Everyone is contributing and as a fan, it is great to watch.  It’s a thrill.  CC’s performance from yesterday was thrilling to see.  Finally he has come up in a huge spot and performed the way we need him to (not just so we get our money’s worth I might add).  It was a true pitchers duel.  CC and Verlander, the Tigers’ ace, was just a sight for sore eyes.  And to see CC come out on top it was just great.  So, with teh Yankees winning and playing extremely well, the question is, what have the Red Sox been doing.  Well, thanks to the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay, the Red Sox have failed to top the Jays in two consecutive days.  This is STELLAR news for the Yankees because this means we have gained two games on the Red Sox at the top of the AL East.

So, the Blue Jays owe most of their success to Roy Halladay this season.  His season on the mound has so far earned him an All Star Starting position, a huge spot in the trading market, and has just improved and improved on an already phenominal career.  His performance against the Red Sox today proved that he is the best pitcher in the AL and possibly the entire MLB.  Now, that’s saying something.  Against the Sox, he through a complete game, had seven K’s and only gave up six hits and a run.  He was totally STELLAR!  He will surely win the Cy Young in the AL at the end of the season, assuming he continues to dominate the way he has so far.

The Mets have injury problems!  It’s as simple as that.  They have lost key guys on both offense and in the pitching staff.  Starters, relievers, powerhouses, and pretty much every other type of guy they have lost so far this season.  The injury I think is probably the biggest for this Mets team is Carlos Beltran.  This guy was one of the biggest offensive performers on this team (and that’s saying something considering he shares the lineup with the likes of David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado).  He was also a very solid outfielder.  Jose Reyes was the spark of the Mets offense.  He got on base, ran (or at least made the pitcher worry about him running), and got into scoring position quickly giving the rest of the lineup to drive him in.  There would be a great chance of that considering the guys I said earlier are in the middle of the lineup behind Reyes.  JJ Putz in the bullpen was supposed to be the shutdown set up guy that would lead the way to K Rod.  It was said that once the Mets got to Putz in the eighth, the game was over.  Putz, then K Rod, then, well, the game is over.  They won’t have any chance with what they have now.  Although the guys replacing the big time stars are doing pretty well, the guys that they have lost are extremely important and will cost this team dramatically.

The Nats Suck!  Seriously.  THEY ARE 26 GAMES BACK!  26!  Can you get any worse?  The pitching is dreadful.  The offense has a few guys that can put up some good stats but there is no chemistry.  There is no flow.  Zimmerman, Dunn, Dukes, maybe a few other guys here and there can have a good spurt but overall, they are terrible.  I really can’t muster up anything else to say about them.  They SUCK!

Yesterday, Yunel Escobar had a terrible game.  Missing signs, having a tough game at the plate and in the field, and just didn’t have his head together for the game.  Today, he kicked off the Braves-Mets game in the second with a solo shot to left.  When the final out was recorded, Escobar had gone 3-4 with a homer, 4 RBI, and a run scored.  This just proves my point that you can have a terrible day one day and thrive the next.  Most of you won’t know about my ongoing battle with my friend that has had some pretty bad stretches of baseball in which he has said that he won’t do better the next day.  Well, I hope he reads this because this story proves my point 100%.

Well, that’s all for today.

-Dillon

So What Did I Miss?

I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and have been unable to get a post up here so I’m sorry for all of you readers who have had to wait for another post to come up.  Well, I had some people staying at my house and we’ve been pretty busy.  So that’s that.

When the people who were staying at my house left this morning, the first thing I did was check the MLB.com page to see what’s been going on the past few days.  So here are my headlines.

  • Yanks are still 3 games back of the Red Sox.
  • The Yankees and Phillies both made clutch late performances to come up with wins.
  • Clay Buchholz was phenominal in his return to the Red Sox rotation against the Jays.
  • Roy Oswalt had it going against the Dodgers.
  • Ryan Braun got hit in the hand by Bronson Arroyo and left the game with a sore wrist.

So now that I am all caught up, I thought I’d talk a little about the second half and what is to come in the MLB.  It’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait.  I am pumped for the playoff runs to come, to see who will take the top spots in the divisions around the league, who will get that wild card spot.  It’s going to be great.

Let’s start off with them Yankees.  Of course.  Right now, they are 3 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East.  They’ve been stuck in this position for a while now and I’d like to see it change.  If we could get a few games back from the Red Sox that would be STELLAR.  We got a win last night apparently against the Tigers.  Some late game heroics from Mr. Teixeira gave us the lead and we kept it to take the series opener 5-3.  This is good but Clay Buchholz and the rest of the Red Sox pitching kept the Jays at bay and won their game as well.  So the standings stayed the same… again.  It’s great that we’re winning, but we need the Red Sox to lose to get anywhere.

Now, transitioning from the Yankees-Tigers game… Curtis Granderson, the Tigers centerfielder, one of the heroes from the All Star Game, and my favorite player kept his STELLAR play going by going 2-4 with a home run and 2 runs scored.  He has been having a great season so far and I love to see him keep it up.  The Tigers are at the top of the AL Central right now and Granderson has been a big part of their offensive success.  Keep it up man.

Next on my list from inside my head is the Dodgers.  Man, how good are they.  Now, they lose some here and there but so far in the first half of the season, they have racked up the wins and have the best record in baseball.  They do it so quietly too.  It’s weird.  They have the play-makers on their team that are starting to be recognized for what they have done such as Andre Ethier, the O-Dog and Rafael Furcal.  But as a team, they are very quiet and do very well without making a ton of noise.  I think they will continue to play extremely well and will most likely have the best record at the end of the regular season and will have the top spot in the NL West… as usual.  Manny’s return just strengthened a team that had already been thriving without him.

How about that Albert Pujols?  After a disappointing All Star Game, Pujols bursted out with a 2-4 night, including a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.  He was just STELLAR.  His offensive production is the single most important aspect to the Cardinals’ game.  If he is not playing well, the Cardinals are going to struggle.  Now, I don’t see that happening but if it does, that’s how things are going to be.  Pujols is the best player in the MLB and is clearly recognized for it and has a very important role.  He’s fantastic!

That’s all for now, so until next time…

Adios!

-Dillon

Wow, Did That Just Happened?

I’m sure that’s exactly what Zack Greinke, the Royals’ young star pitcher, is thinking right now after he just got smoked for five runs on nine hits (two homers) and a walk.  He also had two unearned runs allowed in his five inning outing.  Greinke must have been shocked, after so many STELLAR performances to start the season.  He is among the top two pitchers in the AL and is in the running for a start in this season’s all star game.  He is no doubt an all star but his only other competition for the start is the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay who is also having a STELLAR season.  Some competition, huh?

Greinke is currently 8-2 on the season with a league best 1.55 ERA.  He also has 91 strikeouts which is also one of the best totals in the league.  He is having an overall great season and this one loss won’t hurt him.  This loss is definitely shocking… I’m shocked.  But it really isn’t that big a deal.  He still has one of the best records, has the best ERA, despite it being over 1, and has a great number of K’s.  He is great.  A youngster who is having a Cy Young season is something that the Royals need.  Someone who can lead the team and get them somewhere.  He’s going to be fine. 

Now, the competition for the starting all star job is between Halladay and Greinke.  That’s no doubt.  They are the top two pitchers in the league and there is no one even close to having as good a season as these two are having.  So who should it be? 

My pick: Halladay. 

Why: He has a better record.  His performances this season have equally matched that of Greinke’s, and his team is winning.  Halladay has been great throughout his career.  He still is.  Greinke is still young and I have no doubt that he will be a starter in the all star game sometime in his career.  But right now, the spotlight is on Halladay who has proven himself over and over again that he is one of the best in the business. 

So nothing against Greinke, because I happen to like him very much, but I think this season, it should be Halladay.  But next year… who knows?  Maybe next year will be Greinke’s turn. 

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Another “Wow, did that just happen” moment from this week was Randy Johnson’s entry into the 300 win club.  Way to go man.  You’ve earned it.  Johnson’s career so far has been STELLAR and he is still going.  That’s amazing.  This milestone is one of the most respected of all milestones reached in baseball.. I think it is the one you have to work the hardest for.  It’s great for everyone who has reached it and Randy Johnson is now among some of the greatest pitchers of all time.  Throughout his career, he has pitched for the Expos, Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks (two stints), Yankees, and Giants.  Here’s a little summary of his career. 

Johnson has been the type of pitcher who would be set to pitch and the other team wouldn’t want to face him.  He was a tall, powerful pitcher.  He had a good fastball and good secondary pitches.  He was just a great overall pitcher that new the game.  Opponents didn’t want to face him.  He has pitched a perfect game.  He has demolished a bird in mid-air (not something you want him to do to you) and has come up big for all of the teams he has played for in his great career. 

So now that you’ve heard some of that, I hope you would come to appreciate how hard it is to get to this milestone.  Way to go man.

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Now here’s the last of my stories from this week.  This also happened last night.  It happened in the Mariners- Twins game.  Ichiro, riding a 2 game hitting streak, went hitless against Twins pitchign ending his streak at 27.  It was a disappointing game for the Mariners and Ichiro as his streak was snapped and the Mariners lost 2-1.  Ichiro’s streak wasn’t the first long one of the season.  Everyone remembers Ryan Zimmerman’s earlier this season which ended at 30 games.  There have been others but none have gone as high as these two which have gained much attention all over the MLB community. 

Ichiro has had a great season overall this year and is bound to get an all star bid for the mid summer classic in St. Louis.  I have Ichiro among my votes for one of the outfield starting spots.  Along with Jason Bay and Curtis Granderson. 

-Dillon