Jayson Stark from ESPN.com gives Dodger pitcher Brad Penny the half-year Cy Young Award:
All around him, Dodgers starters keep going down like the Titanic. But Penny just keeps getting better. So after all those years when people wondered whether this guy's light bulb would ever go on, this just in: It's burning brighter than the Dodger Stadium light towers. There are Cy Young arguments to be made down the freeway for Jake Peavy and Chris Young. But although Peavy pulled even with Penny in quality starts Thursday night (both have 15 in 18 appearances) and passed him in ERA (2.19 to 2.39), we'd still give Penny a microscopic edge. Nobody can match those 13 starts in which Penny has given up or no earned runs. Or the three extra-base hits he's allowed all year with runners in scoring position. Or his most astounding feat of all -- giving up a home run in only one of his first 17 starts (June 3 in Pittsburgh, when Jason Bay and Adam LaRoche got him). People may have scratched their heads when this guy was picked to start last year's All Star Game. But nobody deserves to start this year's edition more than Penny.
Apologies to: Peavy, Young, Cole Hamels, John Smoltz, Francisco Cordero.
Of course, we know that Penny did not start this year's All-Star Game, but did pitch a nice scoreless inning (and at least he got in the game, unlike Albert Pujols, who was dissed by his own manager).
But wait, there's more. Check out another Stark award:
AL LVP (Least Valuable Player) -- Julio Lugo, Red Sox
No full-time player in Red Sox history has ever made it through a season with a batting average below the Mendoza Line and an on-base percentage and slugging percentage under .300. But Lugo is working on it -- thanks to the 7-for-79 (.089) June debacle he just staggered through. That microscopic average made him just the third player in the past 44 seasons to bat under .100 in any calendar month. And the 0-for-33 funk he tossed into the middle of it was the longest 0-fer by a Red Sox position player in 16 years. And ohbytheway, out at shortstop, Lugo has already committed more errors (nine) than his predecessor, Alex Gonzalez, committed all of last season (seven). But hey, only three years left on his $9-million-a-year contract after this season.
Sighs of relief for: Bobby Abreu, Jason Kendall, Bobby Crosby, Jermaine Dye, Jay Gibbons.
I left in the "sighs of relief" line in order to make sure Ned Colletti doesn't sign any of these guys (e.g., Jermaine Dye).