This Day In Baseball: 17 August 2005

Wednesday, August 17 2005 @ 12:05 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Too many pitchers, that's all, there are just too many pitchers. Ten or twelve on a team. Don't see how any of them get enough work.
-- Cy Young

Our topic for today is the AL Cy Young Award. This is a tough one.

The best pitcher in the AL this year has been Roy Halladay. No doubt about that. But Halladay has already missed more than a month and will be out a little longer. This complicates things.

Arguably, the second most impressive performance by an AL starter has been the job turned in by Kenny Rogers. The Gambler has also done this work in one of the best hitter's parks in the league. But, like Halladay, Rogers has missed a number of starts - partially because of injury and partially because he's a jerk. He's actually pitched fewer innings than Halladay

The AL pitchers with the most impressive W-L records - Jon Garland and Bartolo Colon - both have ERAs a full run higher than Halladay's, and to date haven't extended their fine performance over a significantly greater number of innings.

The AL pitchers leading the league in strikeouts - Johan Santana, John Lackey and Randy Johnson - not only have ERAs more than a run higher than Halladay: they've actually won fewer games. This is also true of the one AL pitcher who is holding opposition hitters to a lower batting average than Halladay. That's Barry Zito of Oakland, and he too has fewer wins than Halladay and ERA that is more than a run higher.

Which leaves Mark Buehrle of the White Sox. Buehrle hasn't missed a turn - he's one of just three pitchers in the league with an ERA below 3.00 (barely - he's at 2.99). He leads the league in innings pitched, which is a big deal for me. He's won "only" 13 games, but I think he's clearly been better than Garland and Colon, who are the only pitchers with more wins.

But... Buehrle's ERA is helped enormously by the fact that fully 13 of the runs he's allowed are unearned. Only Randy Johnson has given up as many unearned runs. All but one of the runs Halladay has allowed have counted against his ERA. Buehrle has pitched 33 more innings than Halladay, and he's allowed 32 more runs, and 20 more earned runs. His extra innings are replacement level, at best.

So, somewhat to my surprise, the award is still Halladay's to win. Someone else is going to have to step up over the next six weeks to take it away. Someone probably will - Johan Santana is the guy I would bet on, if I bet on things - and if no one does, the voters will probably just give it to the guy with the most wins.

But not me.

1. Roy Halladay, Toronto
2. Mark Buehrle, Chicago
3. Johan Santana, Minnesota
4. Kenny Rogers, Texas
5. Barry Zito, Oakland

Tomorrow - the NL MVP.

The schedule:

Boston (Wells 9-5, 4.43) at Detroit (Bonderman 13-9, 3.96) 1:05
Baltimore (Cabrera 8-11, 5.00) at Oakland (Haren 10-8, 3.90) 3:35
Kansas City (Carrasco 5-6, 4.37) at Seattle (Moyer 9-4, 4.34) 4:35
Texas (Young 9-7, 4.91) at Cleveland (Millwood 6-9, 3.09) 7:05
New York (Leiter 6-10, 6.14) at Tampa Bay (Hendrickson 7-7, 6.77) 7:15
Minnesota (Santana 11-6, 3.48) at Chicago (Buehrle 13-5, 2.99) 8:05
Toronto (Towers 9-9, 4.25) at Los Angeles (Washburn 6-6, 3.33) 10:05

Chicago (Zambrano 9-5, 3.17) at Houston (Oswalt 14-9, 2.57) 7:05
Washington (Loaiza 7-8, 3.54) at Philadelphia (Lieber 11-10, 4.92) 7:05
San Diego (Williams 6-8, 4.92) at Florida (Willis 15-8, 2.79) 7:05
Los Angeles (Perez 7-6, 4.38) at Atlanta (Hudson 8-7, 3.53) 7:05
San Francisco (Lowry 8-11, 4.13) at Cincinnati (Hudson 4-5, 7.49) 7:10
Pittsburgh (Fogg 6-7, 4.94) at New York (Glavine 8-10, 4.41) 7:10
Arizona (Webb 10-8, 3.78) at St.Louis (Mulder 13-6, 4.10) 8:10
Milwaukee (Capuano 12-8, 3.77) at Colorado (Wright 6-13, 5.85) 9:05