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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
Carl Crawford shined the brightest among the star studded rosters that participated in the 80th All Star Game last night. With a game saving catch to rob the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run and a 1-3 night at the plate, Carl Crawford was awarded the All Star Game MVP trophy from the commish Bud Selig. A great honor for Crawford who’s STELLAR play kept the AL in the game and gave them their 12th win in 13 years of All Star play. Congrats to Crawford for his achievement.
The game was a very good one, keeping me alert at all times. Different from the Home Run Derby the night before, the game was exciting and it was definitely worth watching. Most of the action happened early as the AL scored twice in the top of the first. The NL scored three times in the bottom of the second to go ahead in the game. Hmmmm. Maybe the NL had a shot at winning this thing. Well, maybe not.
In the fifth, the AL tied the score up with a run on a combined effort from Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter. The game then stayed scorelss until the eighth in which my favorite player, Curtis Granderson, tripled to deep left off the wall. Just missing a home run, Granderson swiftly made his way to third to put the go ahead run on. He was then driven in by an Adam Jones deep sacrifice fly. In fact when the ball first left his bat, I thought it was going out, but the wind must have knocked it down because it was just short of the warning track. It was deep enough to drive in Granderson and the AL went ahead.
The NL was then on the ropes for yet another loss in the All Star Game. They were unable to score in the bottom of the eighth as Joe Nathan got out of a little jam in which he had walked a guy and gave up a hit. In the bottom of the ninth, as he has his whole career, Mariano Rivera stepped up to the mound and shut down the NL 1-2-3.
Now, as I said in my first edition of this post, defense is a huge aspect of baseball, whether you think it is or not. In last night’s game, the ball off Brad Hawpe’s bat would have left the yard (barely) if it wasn’t for the great hustle from Crawford. His great concentration allowed him to catch the ball while hitting the wall. Michael Young made a couple nice plays over at third base in place for Evan Longoria who was a late scratch with an infection of his finger. All over the field, people were making some good plays. Ironically enough, each team had an error. Well, it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference but still… kind of ironic.
The All Star Game was a blast to watch. I was pumped that Curtis Granderson was a huge part of the game with his triple and game winning run. I didn’t know if he would get that much playing time but he did. In fact, his first at bat was when he hit the triple. That was the turning point in the game. It broke a tie and it broke the NL’s chances of winning for the first time in 13 years. Also, I was glad that Jeter and Rivera had good games. Teixeira didn’t really have any huge plays but his presence at first was felt as he played a solid game. The Yankees were well represented with their old skipper on the opposite bench, Joe Torre.
The starting pitching was supposed to be STELLAR but in fact, it wasn’t that STELLAR. Lincecum had trouble in the first inning where he gave up two runs on two hits. On the other side of things, Halladay gave up three runs on four hits. Only two of them were earned as one run scored on a Josh Hamilton throwing error. The rest of the game, the pitching was pretty good. Solid all around and it was a great thing to watch.
The All Star Game in general was pleasing to me. It got me back on track with baseball after a disappointing Home Run Derby Monday night. I’m pumped for the rest of the season and it is going to be a good one. The stars shone bright last night and the stars are going to shine bright the rest of the season as the playoffs near. The Yankees and Red Sox race for the top of the AL East is going to be a good one. The NL Central is about as tight as it gets. Everyone’s got a chance. The AL Central looks like the Tigers are going to take it. The Dodgers are still the best team in the bigs and will continue to play like it. Manny’s return will help them even more. It’s going to be a great second half of the season and I am psyched.
Now, seriously, tell me that is not one of the best backdrops to a stadium in all of the MLB stadiums. You’ve got a beautful stadium already and then you’ve got a nice calm, city outside the stadium and the famous St. Louis arch. It’s just a great sight and I think it is this picture is one of the best of any other MLB related picture.
So the guys that outperformed the rest of the MLB are going to be playing in one of the best stadiums around the MLB to try and secure their respective leagues a home field advantage for the 2009 World Series. Now, the past twelve years, the AL has won. No doubt, domination. The AL has just produced more top players than the NL and they have outperformed the NL the past decade + some. The pitching has been better the hitting has been better and the coaching has been better. Everything that makes up a team has been better on the AL side than the NL side.
In the 2003 All Star Game, Texas Rangers 3B Hank Blalock hit a pinch-hit two run home run in the eighth inning off, then, one of the best closers in the game, Eric Gagne. The shot was a no doubter and it put the AL on top and would be the game winning shot. That was the closest the NL has come to winning an All Star Game in the past twelve years other than the 2002 All Star game that ended in a tie.
This year, the NL may have a little better of a lineup but the AL counters it with a pretty good lineup itself and maybe some better pitching. The starters in the game are both very deserving of their spots: Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum.
In my opinion, the NL has a better offensive lineup having a ton of power hitters , all capable of going yard at any moment. The AL has their offensive up sides as well, very little seperating the talent of the two lineups, but the AL may have a little more all around good play. They have more guys that can do the little things to win and the NL doesn’t necessarily have that.
On defense, the lineups are stacked with gold glovers or close to gold glovers. Solid defensive players all around and it will be interesting to see how the defense affects the game. As most of you know, defense is a huge part of the game. It may not seem so but it is. There have been some big defensive plays that have changed parts of the games in the past. You all remember Torii Hunter’s rob of Barry Bonds’ homer in the 2002 All Star Game, the one that ended in a tie because of the lack of pitchers. Yeah, if that ball had gone out, the game may not have ended in a tie. In fact the NL would have finally won an All Star Game.
The MLB stars that have been voted into this game have earned their spot and deserve their chance to represent their respective leagues. The game will hopefully be an intersting one. It is usually a great time, the All Star Game. And I don’t think there is a better place to have it than in Busch Stadium with the St. Louis arch in the backround and the fans pouring into the stands to watch the best of the best play America’s pastime. The stars will shine bright into the St. Louis night.
So, the midsummer classic is coming up and some of my pals have been bugging me to post my picks for the game. Now, most of them are no doubters but others people might have an argument against. Well here they are.
C: Joe Mauer (Twins)
1B: Mark Teixeira (Yankees)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)
3B: Evan Longoria (Rays)
SS: Derek Jeter (Yankees)
LF: Jason Bay (Red Sox)
CF: Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
RF: Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners)
P: Roy Halladay (Blue Jays)
C: Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
1B: Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
2B: Orlando Hudson (Dodgers)
3B: David Wright (Mets)
SS: Hanley Ramirez (Marlins)
LF: Ryan Braun (Brewers)
CF: Raul Ibanez (Phillies)
RF: Brad Hawpe
P: Tim Lincecum (Giants)
Now as you have probably noticed on many other ballots before, the AL squad is stacked with Yankees and Red Sox players. That is because they are the two best teams in the AL and they have the most All Star worthy players. So don’t yell at me because I picked them because one- they deserve it, and two- a ton of others have picked them in their ballots. Two Cards start at their own home stadium for the game (Pujols and Molina).
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.