Is it possible for a pitcher to take home a Cy Young award despite missing nearly half a season? Judging from what Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did before he landed on the disabled list and how the rest of his competition has performed since, it sure is.
The southpaw hasn’t pitched since losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 26, but it’s not outrageous to say he’s still the National League’s best pitcher. Despite spotting his competition about two months, he still leads the league in fWAR (5.5) and bWAR (4.8). The biggest question right now is whether or not he’ll return to a big-league mound before the regular season finishes.
The likelihood of that increased with some good news, as J.P. Hoornstra of the L.A. News Group reported on Tuesday. Kershaw escaped a 40-pitch bullpen unscathed and is scheduled for a 60-pitch simulated game later this week. As he continues ramping up, the final step before re-entering the Dodgers’ rotation will be one rehab start.
The award has basically been Kershaw’s to lose all season, with a big determination now being how many starts he can rack up upon getting activated off the DL. There’s still about a month left, which is plenty of time for other contenders to separate themselves from the pack by having a strong finish.
Here are seven NL pitchers who have a shot at preventing Kershaw from winning yet another Cy Young. It all depends on how the last month goes.
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Friday, July.12, 2013
By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner) Follow @aecanada12
The Diamondbacks have had good years and bad years in terms of pitching for their club. The first season for the club which was in 1998, they lost 97 games and 69 of those losses were from the rotation, which caused to finish last in the National West Division.
Click the Link Below to see the Hitters version
Luis Gonzalez’s walk off hit Game 7 World Series 2011
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024 This team has played for almost 130 years. As such, they have a great deal of history, so there are going to be several more hitters than pitchers as is the case with most Franchises. For the first seasons as the Quakers, they had some decent pitchers. It wasn’t until Pete Grover Alexander joined the club, that Philadelphia Phillies fams got to see a Hall of Fame pitcher before their very eyes. From Alexander, to Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons, to Jim Bunning, Rick Wise and Chris Short, to Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw and Jim Lonborg, to Curt Schilling and Mitch Williams, to Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, the Phillies Pitchers have been improving in each generation.
Last year when the club won a record 102 games for the Franchise, they had the best 4 starters they had ever assembled in Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Roy Oswalt to take the mound. Having Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton as your 5th starter is an option most teams would love to have. The Phillies have been one of the best teams in the National League since 1975. They have appeared in 9 NLCS’s and 5 World Series while winning 2 of them. That is an impressive 36 year run. Going forward, the clubs pitchers still look solid. Cole Hamels just signed a 6 year extension, Cliff Lee is around for 3 more years and Roy Halladay still has 2 more years left after this. The club also signed Jonathan Papelbon up until the end of the 2015 season before 2012 began. Papelbon may have a chance to make this list when someone else chronicles the best pitchers in Phillies history one day 25 years from now.
If you ask me to have a Mount Rushmore of Pitchers it would be: Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Grover Alexander and probably Cole Hamels because of his instrumental pitching since the 2007 season.
For Part 1 of the Phillies Article Series: The Franchise click here:
For Part 2 of the Phillies Article Series: The Hitters click here:
For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series: Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here
For the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals Franchise 5 Part Series click here
Steve Carlton Highlight Reel:
Chuck Booth: (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- To be a closer in today’s baseball game takes quite the mental fortitude. There is a lot of psychological warfare one could do to himself in preventing a successful run at saving games. While I am of the mindset that the relief pitchers of yesteryear seemed to be relied on more for lengthier durations, this does not diminish this stat in any way. It is hard to acquire the 90-100% save rate that most teams are striving for in a pitching staff. In any given seasons the average save opportunities average from 45-65 chances to lock a game down. A lot of this also depends on what team you play for. There have been several phenomenal stretches put forth by closers of the game in recent vintage. Who could forget Canadian born Erig Gagne? This man once saved 85 straight games from 2002-2004. He is the all-time leader in that category and beat out John Franco’s previous record by an astounding 30 games. Another incredible run was Brad Lidge‘s incredible 2008 season where he did not blow a save opportunity out of 48 games both in the regular season and playoffs.
Sure these guys don’t log 120 innings anymore, or throw for 3 inning saves like Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage did for many years. By the way, we can all thank Tony La Russa for the invention of specialists pitchers (Rick Honeycutt, Jesse Orosco anyone?) and the one inning save closers. La Russa perfected this scenario with former starter Dennis Eckersley coming out of the pen for the Oakland A’s during their powerhouse days in the late 80’s. Eckersley was so dominant every team tried to duplicate their own bullpens to mock the A’s.
Before this time had come, relief pitchers were all mostly comprised of young pitchers trying to acclimatize themselves into the Major Leagues first, before earning a spot as a Starting Pitcher. For example, David Wells was once a relief pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays first and then was promoted to a starting pitcher after he proved he could pitch in the Major Leagues. In today’s baseball world, relief pitchers are now being drafted out of college and high school as relievers whereas they used to all come from the position of starting pitcher. It also used to be that relief pitchers were players that graduated to a starter and then could not find success as starters and were sent back to the bullpen once again to stay. When it came down to it, you had only a couple of chances to perform as a starter. Maybe it was because there were bigger than life characters like Gossage that make remember these pitchers in such favorable terms. Maybe it was because we never saw them interviewed on a social media platform like today’s athlete is and the mystery surrounded them made them more feared, or maybe it is because we tend to admire things more when they happened in the past. I still love the closers role in today’s game and nothing has more drama in a baseball game than trying to nail down the last 3 outs!