Tagged: Rays

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

To Be Completely Honest…

I am more focused on football season coming up than on the playoff races in the MLB that are going on right now.  I am a huge football fan, both college and professional. I’m a Longhorn at heart and a Pats fan since forever.  Football is my favorite sport overall and I really enjoy watching it.  Now, being a small guy, I’m not really the kind of guy that plays competitive football at my high school, but my friends and I have our own little thing going on which we play each other every week.  It’s pretty fun and I enjoy playing all the time.

Now, although I am focused on football more than baseball right now, I am still keeping up with the major headlines around the league.  Here are my top three headlines from yesterday.

  • Halladay one-hits Yankees
  • Red Sox are slaughtered by White Sox, Rangers Creep up on Red Sox in Wild Card Race
  • The Rox keep on rolling in the NL West

I didn’t even realize that the Yankees had a seven game winning streak going into last night until I saw it on Sportscenter this morning.  When I saw that, I was just thinking, Wow the Yanks are unstoppable right now… then we ran into Roy Halladay.

Since the trade deadline in which Halladay was most likely to be traded, he hasn’t really been on top of his game the way he has been the first part of the year.  Now, I’m not saying he was bad. Because that is the last thing he was.  He still was throwing really well but the offense wasn’t giving him all the support he needed.  He had his off days and his record stumbled down with a few losses.  Last night was a sign of how good he really can be.  And against a powerhouse like the Yankees helps his point.

Simply the only hit he gave up against the Yanks was a double down the line for Ramiro Pena.  It was a really disappointing loss as a Yankee fan but you really have to appreciate how good Halladay was.  He was brilliant.

Freddy Garcia was also very good last night against the Red Sox.  Another great performance against a powerhouse.  Garcia finished the game after throwing six innings, giving up seven hits, and one run.  He struck out five in his phenominal performance.  The Red Sox just could not get anything off him.  It was pretty much the total opposite for Paul Byrd who started for the BoSox.  Byrd was chased after two and a third innings.  He was just aweful.  He gave up seven runs on ten hits, including a homer.  He did strike out three but that didn’t really mean much after his early departure.

The White Sox’s power surge last night was something that we know the Sox could have but the question was when would it happen.  Last night is when.  The Red Sox lost and that meant a huge problem was about to happen in the Wild Card race if the Rangers and Rays both won.

The Rangers won over the Orioles last night behind Scott Feldman who was just STELLAR.  This win was huge for the Rangers as it moved them within two of the Wild Card lead.  The Red Sox better be careful the rest of this series with the White Sox because if they can’t pull it together, they will surely lose the Wild Card spot.

Jason Giambi… everyone remembers him right?  Well, after last night, you should.  He hit a go ahead single to bring in the go ahead run for Colorado as they went ahead over the Arizona Diamondbacks.  This come from behind win is going to prove to be huge as they win the Wilid Card spot for the playoffs.  I am sure they will win it and that is my very confident prediction.  The Rox have been a sight to see the past couple months as they have just streaked throughout their schedule and have really made a big impact on the league.  Their presence in the playoffs is going to be great.  Who knows how far they will go if they continue to streak like this.

Back to football.  The Patriots open their season up against the Bills on Monday Night Football next week.  It is going to be a huge stage to open the season up and the Patriots are going to start up what is going to be a super year for them.  I am predicting they win the Super Bowl over the Packers this year and redeem theirselves as the champs of the league. They really are the best team in the league.  And I think they will win the Super Bowl this year.  With Brady back and healthy, that should be a no doubter.

ut_texas_longhorns_logo.jpg UT logo image by mslagley

The Texas Longhorns are my other favorite team, being in the NCAA’s.  Colt McCoy is my favorite college player and when he gets drafted into the NFL he will then be my favorite NFL football player.  Texas is always going to be my favorite team in the college level just because I have followed them for a while now.  The thing about college is that players cycle through.  They play in college and then are drafted and new guys come in.  Texas is always going to be my favorite team even if the powerhouse goes down in the future when their star players are all gone.  But I think Texas is one of those teams that continues to get new guys that will be great throughout college from their freshman year through their senior years.  Colt McCoy is that kind of example.

Go Pats!  Go Horns!

-Dillon

Re-Mark-Able

First there was Jonathon Sanchez’s no hitter, the first of the year.  The game was full of excitement and close plays.  The game saving rob from Aaron Rowand in the ninth.  Only the error by Uribe seperating him from a perfect game.  And the mere perfection from Sanchez that put him into the history books with the greats.  Well, Mark Beuhrle is already there.  Having thrown a no hitter in 2007, Beuhrle added onto his career of STELLARNESS by throwing a perfect game against the defending champion Rays.  That’s right, Mark Beuhrle has thrown a perfect game on July 23, 2009.  This picture, duplicated just an hours ago.

The game kept fans on there feet.  It must have been such a great moment there.  To have a ticket to that game must have been amazing (not knowing what would happen of course, but now that it has… wow).  Beuhrle and the White Sox were… well let me say it… RE-MARK-ABLE!

Like Sanchez’s no hitter, a late game rob saved their moment in history.  Aaron Rowand robbed what might have been a home run in the ninth inning of Sanchez’s no hitter.  In today’s game against the Rays, a defensive replacement in center, Dewayne Wise, robbed a sure home run from Gabe Kapler and preserved the perfect game for Beuhrle.  This was the single most important moment in the game, as was Rowand’s catch.  Another great play was Gordon Beckam’s line drive catch at third after a long at bat from Pat Burrell.  Honestly, it wasn’t all that well hit, but still, if he wasn’t there… there goes the perfection.  On offense, Beuhrle wouldn’t have needed much but he got it anyway.  Josh Fields hit a grand slam to start things off.  Then, Alexei Ramirez and Scott Podsednik hit back to back doubles to get the score to 5-0.  That would be four more runs than Beuhrle would need.

Beuhrle, already among some of the greatest names in history, adds to his already STELLAR career with this perfect game.  In his outing, he went the full nine innings, had six K’s and gave up nothing to the Rays offense.  That’s right.  Carlos Pena, BJ Upton, Evan Longoria… they were all held silent by Beuhrle.  Perfection.  Such a great sight to see.

Beuhrle joins a great group of names of those who have thrown a no hitter and a perfect game on different occasions.  The list includes the likes of Randy Johnson and… well, I forget who else but it is definitely a list to cherish being a part of.  Beuhrle was absolutely STELLAR in what was clearly the most exciting part of this season.  First there was Sanchez’s no hitter.  Then just last night, Manny Ramirez’s pinch hit grand slam.  Another great moment.  And now a perfect game from Beuhrle.  And just think about this… we’ve only just begun the second half of the season.  We still have the rest of the second half to go.  There’s still the playoff race to sit back and enjoy.  Then the playoffs themselves.  It’s going to be great and this season is going to be even greater.  Just wait.

Absolutely RE-MARK-ABLE.  Congrats to Mark Beuhrle on yet another phenominal accomplishment.

-Dillon

Talk About a Kick In the Groin

This past off-season was highlighted with the Yankees’ shopping spree in which they signed three of the top free agents on the market; Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira.  But among all the noise that the Yankees were making, the defending champion Phillies were making their own moves, including one to bring former Seattle Mariners’ outfielder Raul Ibanez to Philly.  Now, Ibanez has been very good over the last few seasons of his career.  When the Phillies signed him, they were hoping he would be a good replacement for Pat Burrell, who left to the Rays as a free agent.  Ibanez has proven to be more than a good replacement.  He is the Phillies’ top offensive player so far this season.  Here are some of his stats:

  • .312 batting average
  • 22 jacks
  • 59 RBI
  • .656 slugging percentage
  • 164 total bases

This guy is just tearing it up.  Now, a strained groin has him on the 15 day DL.  What a kick in the groin.  Ibanez’s STELLAR season so far is going to have to go on hold for a little bit.  And the Phils… they lose their top offensive production.  Not that they don’t have any more (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino), but this loss is a huge misfortune for the Phitting Phils.

Being the defending world champs, they have had a lot on their shoulders, as has any other defending champion team.  They have pretty much lived up to their expectations of having another good season.  But this loss might end up being fatal to their championship run.  With the tough NL East, the Phils will definitely have their hands full.

Ibanez was on pace to easily be in the running for MVP.  Others in the NL that could make a run for it this season may be Albert Pujols, his teammate Chase Utley, David Wright and Brad Hawpe (I know a lot of you don’t know him but he’s having a really good season for Colorado). 

The strained groin might keep him out for the All Star game, which he has the most votes for among NL outfielders.  He is just having a great season and this injury may have ruined it.  Hopefully for the Phils, he can heal quickly and they can get him back in time to continue their run for the playoffs.

Taking A Look Inside One of the Biggest and Most Random Brains Ever: Mine

There were homers leaving the yard all over the place yesterday.  And there were only a few games played.  Very impressive.

I was watching the Yankees-Rays game on ESPN on Monday night and in that game alone, the ball was just jumping off every player’s bat that stepped up to the plate.  Well, it was Yankee Stadium, the new home run heaven, but still, it was crazy.  It was fun to see Mark Teixeira hit an absolute bomb to right and also to see Mr. Damon continue his homer surge this season.  Derek Jeter also went yard to the opposite field and had himself a good game.  Unfortunately, Gave Kapler, as great a player he is, hit one out too to bring the Rays back into the game.  Oh well.  We still won 5-3.

Here’s a list of all the players who went deep yesterday:

  • Marcus Thames
  • Alexei Ramirez
  • Jim Thome
  • Scott Podsednik
  • Jermaine Dye
  • Paul Konerko
  • Jack Cust
  • Derek Jeter
  • Mark Teixeira
  • Johnny Damon
  • Gabe Kapler
  • Adam Lind
  • Chipper Jones
  • Nate McLouth
  • Brian McCann
  • Troy Tulowitzki
  • Brett Carroll

AT first glance, you might not think this is a lot of guys who hit it out.  But for the amount of games, this is pretty impressive.  Every time I was looking down on the scrolling bar at the bottom of the ESPN screen, I saw another guy who hit a homer.  It was kind of something that is hard to explain but you kind of had to be there to understand how I’m feeling. 

So the power surge yesterday wasn’t everything that is on my mind right now.  Here’s something else:  How about that Andrew McCutchen?  He’s on fire.

Yesterday, McCutchen continued his STELLAR start to his MLB career.  He went 4-7 in the Pirates’ game agaisnt the Braves.  He was so good.  He looked like a veteran.  His stats for the game included 1 RBI, 2 runs, and 2 triples.  He was just flying around the bases.  Every time the ball was hit into the air, the commentators would say how if the ball got to the ground, McCutchen would be flying and would be on third.  That’s pretty much what happened.  He is just so fast, it’s ridiculous.

Now here’s something else on my mind today: The Yankees and Red Sox start a series tonight in Boston. 

They will compete in a three game series in which the red hot Yankees will try to get their first wins against their rivals on the season.  The two teams will be lead by their league leading offensive stars, Mark Teixeira and Jason Bay.  Not to mention the rest of their powerful offenses.  So far, the Red Sox have dominated the season series.  But when the first games of the season series were played, the Yankees didn’t have a red hot Mark Teixeira, they didn’t have good pitching at all, and their offense was sub-par.  They didn’t look like the Yanks at all.  Now… well now is a different story.  Just wait all you Red Sox fans.  I think the Yanks take two out of three… IN BOSTON. 

Final Thought on the day: The MLB Draft will be fun to watch for the first five picks, but after that… ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! 

This draft is far too long, far too boring, and we don’t know most of the players our teams are getting.  It’s nothing like the NFL and NBA drafts.  They are more exciting and we see most of these players go through college.  The fact that this draft is so long is because we need more players for this sport than the others.  The teams are bigger and the need of players is bigger.  The NFL is close, but as far as the NBA goes, the numbers are so much bigger.  The draft will be fun to see until the top five guys go because we have actually seen them for the past few weeks leading up to the draft.  We know who they are now.  Obviously we know the Nats are taking Strasburgh, and the other top five prospects are most likely going where they are projected to be going.  So despite that, it might still be fun.  The rest of the draftees, well, good luck in the draft but I won’t be sitting on my couch eating potatoe chips waiting to here your name picked.

Well, that’s about it…

Hasta Luego!

-Dillon