Mike Maroth (12-13, 4.81) takes on Bartolo Colon (19-6, 3.23) tonight at 10:05 EDT, as the Tigers embark on a six-game trip through suburban LA and downtown KC. Very quietly, the portly Colon has become the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young. The candidates:
Colon, LAA: 200.2 IP, 187 H, 39 BB, 140 K, 19-6, 3.23 ERA, 53.2 VORP
Garland, CWS: 192.1 IP, 187 H, 38 BB, 94 K, 17-9, 3.51 ERA, 42.8 VORP
Lee, CLE: 180.1 IP, 173 H, 49 BB, 129 K, 16-4, 3.69 ERA, 37.0 VORP
Buehrle, CWS: 216.0 IP, 226 H, 35 BB, 132 K, 15-8, 3.21 ERA, 46.1 VORP
Johnson, NYY: 202.2 IP, 193 H, 40 BB, 193 K, 14-8, 3.91 ERA, 36.5 VORP
Santana, MIN: 201.2 IP, 163 H, 38 BB, 207 K, 13-7, 3.17 ERA, 56.9 VORP
Lackey, LAA: 185.1 IP, 187 H, 65 BB, 180 K, 12-5, 3.30 ERA, 47.3 VORP
Rivera, NYY: 69.2 IP, 44 H, 15 BB, 73 K, 6-4, 38 SV, 1.42 ERA, 27.9 VORP
Bonderman, DET: 184.1 IP, 188 H, 57 BB, 142 K, 14-12, 4.35 ERA, 25.6 VORP
Several things stand out here:
- It's a weak field. Any one of a half-dozen NL pitchers would be clear favorites here, maybe even including Chris Capuano. If he had qualified for the ERA title, Roy Halladay might have walked away with the thing.
- Colon is close to a lock for the wins title, which means he's close to a lock for the Cy Young.
- If he doesn't win the award, it will be because he faltered down the stretch AND because Anaheim got caught by Oakland and didn't win the wild card.
- I might vote for Rivera, were I one of the electors. Everyone else's numbers are unspectacular, or maybe I just don't believe these pitchers are that good (Colon, ahem. Garland, you too).
- Two players who could make late runs: Santana and Johnson. They're widely considered the best pitchers in the league and they're both pitching well. What if one of them finishes with 17 wins to Colon's 20, but has better numbers across the board? What if it's Johnson, and he pitches the Yankees into the playoffs with heroics against Boston?
- Who knew John Lackey was having such a great season? In my mind, he was in the Jaret Wright playoff-stars-who-flamed-out camp.
- I put Jeremy Bonderman's numbers up not because I think he's a candidate, but for comparison's sake. Aside from run support, what's so different about his numbers, from the numbers of these other guys? Baserunners, especially walks allowed. The pitchers that have been the most successful this year in the AL are allowing a miniscule number of walks. Bondo just isn't that efficient yet. (But he's only 22).