Tagged: Justin Verlander

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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Tigers Need To Go Undefeated

In undefeated, I mean these next two games.  Since they have decided to make it a lot more interesting in the AL Central than it needs to be, the Tigers will need to win both of their remaining games to clinch the division.  If they do not, they could let the Twins slip into that division lead.  And therefore give the Twins a playoff birth.  The Twins have been playing well of late and they could easily beat the Royals a couple more times.  Last night they won 10-7.  Today won’t be as easy a task as the Royals send Zack Greinke to the mound.  He is beatable but I wouldn’t count on it.  It will most certainly be a challenge.  As far as the Tigers go, they better get their pitching scenario figured out.

Last night, Edwin Jackson, who has been all but and All Star quality pitcher since the All Star break, went five innings and gave up eight runs.  It was another terrible performance from Jackson who the Tigers desperately need to get back up to speed if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs, assuming they make it.  Right now, the only consistency in that Tigers rotation is Verlander and Porcello.  Jackson hasn’t been there, the recently added Jarod Wahsburn hasn’t pitched all that well since being aquired and Jeremy Bonderman has just had a run in with the Twins series.  It’s gonna be a tight race no matter what but the pitching is key for the Tigers right now.

Regardless off who was pitching last night, the Tigers offense has been good enough to rely on recently but last night, Jake Peavy shut them out.  Peavy has really shown what he can do against a quality offense.  The White Sox are really looking forward to having the Jake Peavy of last night next year.  He will be a big part of that team.  Here’s a quick prediction for next year… watch out for the White Sox.

The Tigers have had a long and grinding year.  They have been in the talk of the city’s troublesome economy and how they have brought hope to the city.  If they make the playoffs this year, that will be the icing on the cake for that city which is really in need of something special.  Now, if they make the playoffs, they will have the uneasy task of playing the Yankees in the first round.  It won’t be easy and it probably won’t end well for the Tigers but the fact that they made it to the playoffs will be a great thing for the Detroit citizens.

Honestly, I am rooting for the Tigers to get in.  But it really comes down to winning.  They can’t rely on the Twins losing since they are playing a weak Royals team.  They NEED to win and need to win now.  A one game lead is nothing to stand by at this point.

Today, the Tigers have rookie Alfredo Figaro going.  It will be the biggest game of his life, at leas at this point, and he will be asked to go out and give a phenominal outing.  They really need the pitching.  I can’t stress that enough.

-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