This year’s Cy Young
1. Cy to Carpenter: Who should win the NL Cy Young this year? While Johan Santana has virtually clinched the AL award, there is no clear favorite in the National League. But in our opinion, the league’s winner from last year is again its best pitcher this year. He is Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals, and he’s been dominant recently. Carpenter, who went 21-5 last year to take home his first career Cy Young, is 14-6 this year with a 2.84 ERA. Last night he shut down the Astros with a complete game, six-hit shutout. It was his second straight complete game in a row and third in his last six games. He’s won four straight decisions, and leads the NL in both ERA and WHIP. Carpenter has also been the only consistent starter for the Cardinals this season. That should be enough to add another Cy Young to his trophy case.
2. That’s offensive: It’s been well-established that the Florida Marlins have some good young players. Last night, many of them were at their finest. The Fish stomped the Mets 16-5, and while Anibal Sanchez failed in his quest for two straight no-hitters, it was all good news for Florida. Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera drove in three RBIs, giving him 109 on the year. All Star Dan Uggla went 5-5 and scored three runs. But it was outfielder Cody Ross that had the biggest day. Ross hit three homers, seven RBIs, and went 4-5 at the plate. All in all Marlins rookies hit five homeruns, setting a major league record. They passed Philly to improve to second place in the division and in the Wild Card race. They’re just two games out of the lead in the latter.
3. Keeping pace: As the Minnesota Twins won again yesterday, the White Sox needed to stay close to them by winning themselves. And, despite only recording four hits against starter John Lackey and the LA Angels, they still managed to win 3-2. Jose Contreras has his second consecutive 8 inning, one run allowed start. He had previously allowed five or more runs for four straight starts. But he improved to 13-7 as Bobby Jenks saved his 40th game of the year. The win left the Sox 3 games back of the Tigers and 1.5 behind the Twins for the Wild Card. This should be a fantastic race down the stretch.
4. Mid-field greatness: Where do the Yankees strengths lie? Well, they have many, but their greatest asset could be their middle infield. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have been the best offensive shortstop-second base combination this season, at least in terms of batting average. Cano is hitting .336 and Jeter .345. While Jeter is second in the league, Cano doesn’t have enough at-bats to qualify. Anyway, his three-run double in yesterday’s game put the Yankees ahead for good over the Orioles. Jeter, meanwhile, continued his 21 game hit streak, a career high for him. He has 13 homers and 91 RBIs this year; Cano has 9 and 59 in less at-bats. That’s pretty good for a double-play combo.
5. Lefty #2 returns: Francisco Liriano, who is one of two lefty aces for the Minnesota Twins, is finally coming back to the mound. After missing more than a month, Liriano is off the disabled list and is set to return to the rotation as early as Wednesday. The 12-3, 2.19 ERA Liriano will pitch against the Oakland A’s. Assuming Liriano picks up where he left off, this could be a huge boost to the Twins in their push for the playoffs.