It takes a lot to get me fired up.
I don’t mean fired up in a good way like when the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw punk Tim “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Lincecum and the Giants 2-1 like they did Tuesday night.
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I mean fired up, as in “I’m so fired up I’m about to break out a can of …you-know-what on someone’s head!” I don’t usually get too fired up when politicians are saying stupid things. I don’t even get fired up when televangelists are spouting off about the latest and greatest way to buy your way into heaven.
But this morning I got dad-gum fired up (putting “dad-gum” in front of something means folks are hot and bothered in the South, by the way). I was eating my bowl of Reese’s Puffs (the best breakfast cereal known to man, by the way) in front of the TV and was watching ESPN Sports Center.
The regular anchor started talking about the National League Cy Young race and said that a baseball expert was going to break down the race and the favorites. Then this “expert” came on and said that no matter what, a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher – either Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay – is most deserving of the Cy Young award.
ESPN then flashed Lee, Halladay and Kershaw on the screen. Kershaw has more wins than Halladay or Lee. Kershaw has fewer losses than either pitcher. Kershaw has a lower ERA than either pitcher (are you sensing a theme here?). Kershaw has more strikeouts than either pitcher.
But hold on, despite this dominance, one of the Phillies deserves the Cy Young more than Kershaw? I thought ESPN had a drug-testing program. Maybe that’s only for the athletes the network covers.
This baseball bozo went on to explain his stance about Kershaw not deserving the Cy Young by throwing out IPBB, IPXYZ and some other alphabetical garbage that actually showed Halladay and Lee ahead of Kershaw on an “official” chart.
If you take a homely girl and ask enough guys, you can also find someone who thinks she’s pretty enough to rank on some kind of list. You mean to tell me that we’re supposed to throw out wins, losses, ERA and strikeouts and delve into inane stats that only Billy Beane would appreciate in order to determine the best Cy Young candidate? (How cool is it that I have been able to pull off “dad-gum” and “inane” in the same article?).
You want to compare the real numbers? Kershaw has 20 wins; Halladay has 18 and Lee has 16. Kershaw has five losses; Halladay has six and Lee has eight. Kershaw has an ERA of 2.27; Lee’s is 2.38 and Halladay’s is 2.41. Kershaw has 242 strikeouts; Lee has 232 and Halladay has 217.
Another reason to validate Kershaw’s Cy Young candidacy is the fact that he plays on a team that is far inferior offensively to the Phillies. The Phillies have hit 146 home runs as a team; the Dodgers 108. Philadelphia has driven in 656 runs this season; the Dodgers have driven in 574. The Phillies have scored 676 runs; the Dodgers have scored 604.
What in the name of Moneyball do these stats mean? They mean that every time Lee and Halladay take the mound, they have a much better chance of getting run support than Kershaw. Yet, Kershaw has bested them in every major pitching category.
And I’ll even go as far to say that if Kershaw doesn’t win the Cy Young, I think another pitcher besides Lee and Halladay deserves it more – Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kennedy is having a banner year, has won 20 games and has a sterling 2.88 ERA.
Are Halladay and Lee great pitchers? They are two of the best pitchers, if not the best, in all of Major League Baseball. However, this year, neither of them deserves the NL Cy Young award. This year, it’s Kershaw’s, whether he is actually given the award or not.