After a hot July, the MLB season has now gone into August. With the new Wild Card spots in play, more teams have hope coming into the stretch run. And, with more playoff births, more aces are trying to pitch their teams into the postseason. For the beginning of August, I’ve taken the list of Cy Young contenders down from ten to eight. I am also looking more in-depth at each candidate, as I look first at those in the running for the A.L. Cy Young.
A.L. Cy Young
1. Jered Weaver, LAA, 15-2, 2.22 ERA. Weaver was the first leader of my A.L. Cy Young watch, then slipped down to seventh because of an injury. Coming off the DL, Weaver has come back stronger than ever. Before Sunday’s loss to Seattle, he won nine straight decisions coming off the DL. And, he leads the A.L. in ERA also at a microscopic 2.22.
2. Justin Verlander, DET, 12-7, 2.46 ERA. Verlander has followed up a Cy Young season with a strong 2012. Besides an ERA under 2.5, Verlander has struck out 174 batters in 175.2 IP. With his low ERA, the 12-7 record can’t be put at Verlander’s door step.
3. David Price, TB, 15-4, 2.50 ERA. As Tampa Bay remains in contention for a Wild Card or possible run at the Yankees, they’ve done it on Price’s arm. Price hasn’t lost since June 13th, winning seven out his last ten starts with three no decisions. Besides being tied with Weaver for the A.L. lead in wins with 15, Price has struck out 151 batters, good enough for sixth in the A.L.
4. Chris Sale, CWS, 14-3, 2.60 ERA. Chris Sale had zero starts coming into this season. He has adjusted very well. Besides being one of the A.L. win lead at 14, he is tenth in SO (132) and 4th in ERA only behind the three pitchers I have ahead of him. In his last twelve decisions as the A.L. Central race heats up, Sale is 11-1.
5. Felix Hernandez, SEA, 10-5, 2.74 ERA. Hernandez is a former Cy Young winner, and King Felix is showing why he has established himself as the ace of the Mariners. The low-scoring Mariners have given him a lot of no-decisions (10-5), but Hernandez is 5th in ERA in the A.L. and 3rd in SO behind the Tiger duo of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Hernandez has been doing it against the best with two wins over the Yankees and a win over the Rangers in his last six starts.
6. Fernando Rodney, TB, 37 Saves, 0.82 ERA. Another reason Tampa Bay is chasing another playoff spot is the shut-down season Fernando Rodney is having. Rodney leads the majors in saves at 37. He has blown one save all season, while already tying his career best in saves that he set in 2009 with the Tigers. Besides an under one ERA, Rodney is also keeping runners off base with a WHIP of 0.76.
7. CC Sabathia, NYY, 12-3, 3.56 ERA. Another former Cy Young winner, it’ll be an uphill battle for Sabathia to add another Cy Young to his resume. Sabathia has just been put on the DL that will keep him out till near the end of August. The Yankees, up 5 games on Tampa Bay, can afford to be cautious with Sabathia if he needs more time. Sabathia is again leading the staff for the team with the most wins in the A.L. as he is 6th in wins and 8th in SO (140).
8. Jake Peavy, CWS, 9-8, 3.04 ERA. Maybe a shoo-in for A.L. Comeback Player of the Year, Peavy has teamed up with Sale to put the White Sox on top of the A.L. Central. Peavy has a near .500 record, but he is 7th in the A.L. in both SO (144) and ERA. Along with that, he is 4th in WHIP at 1.06 ahead of Hernandez, Price, and Sabathia. Peavy has overcome injuries, and he has already made the most starts for Chicago this season since coming over from San Diego in a trade in 2009.