This Week in Baseball: September 10th

Before we get started, something has been brought to my attention.

That something is that Brian Wilson is not right in the head. Not sure if I should start with the fact that he is a ninja and “mental assassin”, with his “50% less awesome cleats” or his mad crossword abilities. Ultimately, I do not think I have to say anything. Brian Wilson is nuts. Moving on.

AL Playoff Race

It has gotten a bit boring as far as who is making the playoffs as far as I am concerned. The Twins still have to hold off the White Sox, but I do not foresee a collapse by the Twinkies. They are a really good team that is just not quite built for the postseason because of teh pitching, but they will ultimately win the Central. I am not writing off the White Sox, but I do not think they are catching them. The only other thing worth noting here is that the Yankees are starting to get some separation from the Rays as we expected and it looks like they will take the division. I do not think it matters since they will be meeting in the ALCS, but it is worth noting at least.

NL Playoff Race

CarGo

The real question here is who DOES want to make the playoffs. The Cards have imploded lately, but the Reds just got swept in Colorado, the Braves lost 2 of 3 to the lowly Pirates, the Padres finally stopped the bleeding, but then lost to the Giants in San Diego. No one is playing well really among the teams we have been talking about for the last few weeks. The Phillies look to be moving back ahead as we expected, but the real story is out West.

The Colorado Rockies are a different breed. They look like they are just not quite ready for most of the year, and turn into an absolute wrecking crew in September. This year has been no different as the Rockies have seemingly been the only team to really capitalize on the Padres’ miserable stretch. As of Friday morning, the Rockies sit only 3.5 games back of the Padres and only 2.5 back of the Giants in the Central. I do not know why, but I have just been excluding the Giants from the playoffs for a while in my head. It just seems like either Colorado or Atlanta is coming out of this thing with that Wild Card berth. Maybe it has to do with my preseason projections, in which I thought Colorado and Atlanta would be Wild Card threats and had the Giants way under .500, but whatever it is, I still do not think they are making the playoffs.

On a different note, I think the Reds have the Central barring a Padres-esque collapse and the Phillies will not relinquish the lead in the East. Just a matter of who is coming out of the wild west bloodbath and if Atlanta can hold on just enough to make it.

Individual Awards

A somehow-under-the-radar Cy Young candidate

There is still no change to my AL MVP pick of Josh Hamilton, though it is still very hard for me to deny Miguel Cabrera the hardware. Cy Young has also tightened up, though I am still sticking with David Price over CC Sabathia. You would think an Indians fan would have some leftover CC love, but not anymore. I am over it. Anyway, David Price is my Cy Young pick and I am not really going out on a limb in saying so. Felix Hernandez is somehow flying under the radar since Seattle is so phenomenally disappointing, but he is leading the majors in Ks, and is 2nd in the AL in ERA behind Clay Buchholz. He is very deserving, but I think it is Price’s year. You really shouldn’t give credit for a team being good overall in a Cy Young race (ask Cliff Lee) but I still will go Price, although I would have no complaints if King Felix won.

The NL MVP race has a new name, and that man is Carlos Gonzalez, who is yet another Triple Crown contender. I have been saying for about a month that he is my MVP pick for next year, but as I never got it on to paper, you will just have to believe me. He is legitimate in every sense of the word, and only his drastic home/away split keeps him from winning the MVP this year. If he carries his team to the playoffs, it will be hard not to put him 2nd, but I am sticking with Joey Votto despite his recent struggles. Still have plenty of Pujols love, but even his incredible value could not keep the Cards in the playoff race (although in his defense, the offense is dreadful). Votto is still the pick.

The Cy Young race, however, keeps getting murkier. Let’s do a blind test and you decide who it is without seeing the name.

Player A: 221 IP, 17 wins, 2.36 ERA, 8 CG, 196Ks (leader at 199), 1.05 WHIP

Player B: 162 IP, 14 wins, 2.21 ERA, 1 CG, 170Ks, 0.96 WHIP

Player C: 183 IP, 11 wins, 2.30 ERA, 1 CG, 186 Ks, 1.11 WHIP

Who should win that? A definitely has the edge in innings pitched, and has been pretty great all season. B offers league leading numbers in ERA and WHIP, and C is the guy many have been giving the award to, myself included, without really looking into the situation. Shame on me.

Do not scroll down if you don’t want to know yet.

Ready? A is Roy Halladay (as I probably gave away by including 8 CG), B is Mat Latos, and C is Josh Johnson. Now tell me who should win.

Cy Young awaits the Doc

I have to admit I am a sucker for the workhorses like Halladay who will go in there and fight for 9 innings. All are deserving, so maybe it is easiest to explain why I did not pick the other two. For me, Latos has just not thrown enough innings to deserve the award, so while he has been outstanding, he has also been outstanding for 60 fewer innings than Doc Halladay. Johnson is another very strong candidate, but I am still going with Halladay. The differences between the ERA and WHIP are marginal and cancel each other out as far as I am concerned. The innings once again go in favor of Halladay, and while that means K/9 swings in Johnson’s favor, I hate the stat K/9. Know why? Because Halladay is the only guy here who consistently goes 9. Johnson has a great strikeout total, and so does Latos for that matter, but Halladay actually stays in the game to get those K/9 in the same game for his team. Even if that does not swing it for Halladay, the final tiebreaker would be team performance and the Phillies, in my opinion, are much better than the Marlins and a little better than the Padres. Roy Halladay is my NL Cy Young Winner. Just as we so boldly predicted preseason (it took less guts than LeBron has to make that pick).

Playoff Picture

I am sticking with the Phillies as my NL World Series pick, if for no other reason than being stubborn and stick-to-it-iveness (I promise I didn’t make that word up). I just think they are best equipped to make the Series in the NL, especially with how ice cold everyone is. I will go ahead and pick the Rockies to win the West and the Braves to take the Wild Card, but I might change my mind tomorrow. It has been that good a race.

On the AL side, everyone knows who will be in the playoffs, and I am sticking to my Yankees over Rays ALCS pick.

Congrats

Phillies over Yankees in the World Series. I have been sticking to it for a while so it should not come as a surprise, but if I had to put a confidence rating on it, no way I go above a 6.

I would get strung up from a crane by my testicles and forced to make difficult decisions if I did not mention this, so here it goes. Trevor Hoffman got his 600th save this week, so hats off to him.

That is all for this week, but stay tuned as things really heat up. October awaits.

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