Verlander seems to be an underdog for the Cy Young award, and I'm not sure why. Could it be he's a victim of his own success?
Sure, Verlander wasn't able to repeat his magical performance of a year ago. But a case, and a very strong one at that, can be made he still deserves to repeat as Cy Young winner.
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The top three AL Cy Young candidates (at least the top three who are starters) all are putting together very nice finishes. And Verlander went 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA this week to stay very much in the mix.
His case should actually be excellent, as he leads the league in innings pitched (238⅓), strikeouts (239, about one per inning for those not numerically inclined) and wins above replacement (7.6). His 17-8 record isn't as good as the records of the next two fellows, but in this day and age, that's a secondary consideration for many voters -- or perhaps even no consideration at all.
Weaver had another very nice week, winning both his games to go to 20-4 for the year and become the only current big-league starter with twice as many career wins as losses. He's 102-51 now, with his .667 winning percentage putting him just ahead of the Phillies' Roy Halladay, who's at .664.
Weaver's 3.9 WAR, oddly enough, is only about half that of Verlander's. Which might actually point out a flaw in WAR. Could it be Verlander is worth twice as much? I know WAR doesn't care about a player's win-loss record, but Weaver's 1.00 WHIP is even better than Verlander's 1.06.
So, yes, Verlander is a little ahead of Weaver in terms of the Cy Young, but he's not twice as good.
Price became the Rays' first-ever 20-game winner (and the second in the American League this year). And he also leads the league with a 2.56 ERA. So he's also very much at the forefront of the Cy Young race.
The guess here is that either Verlander or Price wins, with Weaver and Price teammate Fernando Rodney, who's having a Dennis Eckersley-style year as closer, as the next two, and perennial contender Felix Hernandez at three.
Price also went 2-0 this week as the Cy Young race heated up. As an individual race, it's only outshined this season by the AL MVP race, which is a story for another day.
The blade-thin, high-90s thrower simply ran out of gas (and heat) as he lost all chance to enter the Cy Young picture. He had a 2.13 WHIP in his two starts this week, when just about nothing went right for the South Siders.
The White Sox's bigger struggles came at the plate (see below). But Sale not being the ace surely was a contributing factor in their downfall.
Sure, it was only four outs, but then it was also 10 base-runners allowed. Both Davey Johnson and Jackson said the best idea was not to even talk about the latter's latest outing, which made it literally unspeakable.
But it is recordable, and the six-hit, four-walk, nine-run 1⅓-inning outing left E-Jax with a 4.13 ERA and 9-11 record, which doesn't really reflect how well he pitched most of this season. In fact, his whole career doesn't seem to do his arm justice. He is now 69-71 life-time, with a 4.13 ERA as he heads toward free agency.
Jackson was sorely disappointed last winter when he signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Nationals rather than take the Pirates' three-year, $27 million offer. The Nats will have to decide whether to present a qualifying offer of about $13 million, but assuming they do and he turns it down(he's looking for a longer deal), he should get a nice longer deal since there will be so many teams looking for starting pitching.
But this week didn't help.
Big week for the South Siders. They set a Stock Watch record with six players, counting Sale, in the dreaded Bear Market.
Combined, these five hitters went 18-for-112 over the past seven games (their 2-5 finishing homestand that finished them) as the White Sox went from first place to the brink of extinction.
Konerko was the best of the bunch, going 5-for-25, but his great start to the season certainly fizzled. Dunn, long cited as a Comeback candidate, went 3-for-25 with 13 strikeouts and was down to .204, which would have to be the lowest mark ever for someone perceived to be in a great comeback season.
Rounding things out, Pierzynski was 4-for-20, Beckham 2-for-19 and Aramis Ramirez 4-for-23. All in all, a South-Side disaster.