Saturday, July 12, 2014

ESPN's Stark Gives Nod To Wainwright (Not Kershaw) For (First Half) NL Cy Young

In the accompanying link's video, the Baseball Tonight third-string cast of Eduardo Perez gives Clayton Kershaw the Cy Young (though Dallas Braden, never looking the camera directly in the eyes, gives the award to Johnny Cueto of the Reds). However in the main article, Jayson Stark gives the first-half Cy Young Award to the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright:

NL Cy Young: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

You think it's fun being an awards voter? You think it's easy writing columns like this and inviting the enjoyable tweets and emails you're about to start typing, all because I was dopey and misguided enough not to pick Clayton Kershaw or Johnny Cueto as my official half-Cy? Yeah, that's a dream come true, all right. But in the end, when you vote or when you write these columns, you have to pick somebody, right? So this came down to figuring out how to look at a multiple-choice quiz with no wrong answers and choose just one of the above. An impossible job -- but somebody had to do it! All right, so why not Kershaw, a man with a 1.78 ERA? I concede he's the best pitcher in baseball. And I'm awestruck that he could go out and hang 41 consecutive zeroes on the scoreboard. He's also, somehow, given up a total of just eight runs in his last 10 starts put together, which is absurd. But this isn't a career achievement award. It's a 2014 award. And Adam Wainwright has thrown 24.2 more innings than he has. So us half-Cy voters have to factor in stuff like that, especially when so many of their other numbers are equal.

Okay, so that's a little depressing for Dodgers fans to read, albeit understandable given Kershaw did have some time off (which should even itself out by year's end). So let's lift our spirits by reading about Stark's NL "Cy Yuk": the Giants' Sergio Romo:

NL Cy Yuk: Sergio Romo, Giants

Back in spring training, I heard these words of wisdom from a general manager who understood them all too well: "When your closer stinks," he said, "your team stinks." Well, Sergio Romo's stinkage attack might not be the only explanation for how the Giants made a 9.5-game lead in the NL West disappear in a little over three weeks. But the stunning self-destruction of their closer in that time wasn't exactly an unrelated development. As recently as June 12, the Giants were 43-24 and still 8.5 games up. The next two days, Romo took leads into the ninth against the Rockies and didn't just blow two crushing save opportunities. He allowed seven runs -- in a span of 11 hitters. And the Giants have been feeling the tremors on their personal Richter scales ever since. Romo's troubles had actually already begun. He has a 9.42 ERA dating to May 20. He's been scored on seven times in his last 16 trips to the mound. And most ominous of all, his once-unhittable slider keeps coming down in somebody's popcorn box. Last year, according to TruMedia, Romo allowed zero home runs and a .191 slugging percentage with that slider. This year, he's served up six home runs and a .521 slugging percentage on the very same pitch. And he's almost reached the point where he should never face a left-handed hitter. They're hitting .462 and slugging 1.231 against his one dominating out pitch. Last year's numbers: .219 and .313. Now maybe Romo will find his way out of this. But then again, his strikeout rate the last four seasons has plummeted from 13.1 per nine innings to 10.2, to 8.7, to 7.8 this year. So maybe not. In the meantime, the Giants are the latest example of my new favorite baseball maxim: When your closer stinks, your team stinks. There's a song in there someplace.

For the record, former Dodger Edwin Jackson also got "Cy Yuk" mention.


Dusty Baker's Toothpick said...

These clowns work for ESPN? Haven't they ever clicked on the extended stats on Any monkey can check those stats and know that Cueto doesn't belong in the same tier as Kershaw and Wainright. It's a tough call between those two guys. If Kershaw continues his current dominance, he'll easily pick up his third piece of hardware.

Fred's Brim said...

If Kershaw continues his current dominance, he'll easily pick up his third piece of hardware and an MVP if the Dodgers make the playoffs

Hideo Nomo said...

They vote on th Cy Young in July now?

Steve Sax said...

Sorry, these are first-half awards. Should have noted that