A Quick Glance at the National League Cy Young Picture

With a little over a week’s worth of games remaining on the regular season schedule, the race for the National League Cy Young Award appears to be completely up for grabs, as this year’s BBWAA voting is sure to spark plenty of controversy among followers of the game everywhere.

If there is a slight favorite in the eyes of the fans, it’s Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. Scherzer is on the verge of his fifth-straight 200-inning season, and leads the senior circuit far and away with 253 strikeouts. He has a 0.91 WHIP, which also leads NL starters, and his 6.6 WAR and 2.59 ERA both rank second in the league. Despite his relatively solid peripherals, the 33-year-old righty only has 15 wins at the moment, which may cost him a good portion of votes, especially those from the writers who weigh more importance on the traditional statistics. Scherzer, who already has won the award once in both leagues, is making a bid for his third Cy Young Award—his second with the Nationals.

Gio Gonzalez, also a member of the star-studded rotation of the Nationals, actually has a better WAR than Scherzer at 6.9. He has the same number of wins, and nearly the same number of innings pitched as Scherzer. Gonzalez also has a very respectable 2.68 ERA, which ranks third in the National League. His 1.15 WHIP ranks fifth, but the fact that he has struck out only 179 batters over 191-2/3 innings may slightly harm his chances in the eyes of the voters.

Continuing along in the Washington rotation, next we come upon 29-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg. The San Diego State product has put together a 14-4 record with a 2.68 ERA—identical to that of Gonzalez, accompanied by 196 strikeouts, a 1.04 WHIP and a 5.8 WAR. If there’s one stat that could potentially hurt Strasburg in the voting, though, it’s the fact that he has 167-1/3 innings under his belt, which is about 30 less than both Gonzalez and Scherzer.

Ranking right up there with the Washington trio is Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks. At 17 wins, he has more than any of the Nationals’ candidates, and his 211 strikeouts and 1.04 WHIP rank second and fourth in the league, respectively. His 6.1 WAR ranks third in the league right behind Gonzalez and Scherzer, but his 3.18 ERA has recently been trending downward, and presently ranks sixth in the NL among all qualified starters. On Friday evening against the Marlins, Greinke’s ERA rose a few more ticks, as he surrendered eight earned runs on nine hits—including three long balls—in an even four innings of work.

The ace of the Dodgers’ staff, Clayton Kershaw, perennially appears in the conversation for the award, and 2017 is no different, despite missing a little over five weeks with a herniated disk in his back. Despite the injury, Kersh leads all qualified NL starters with a 2.26 ERA, and is tied with Greinke for first in wins with 17. His 0.91 WHIP is second only to Scherzer, and although his 10.71 K/9 ranks third, his 194 strikeouts rank ninth, resulting from his absence. He’s been a little murky as of late, having surrendered nine earned runs on 18 hits in 15-2/3 innings of work over his last three starts.

One final name sure to garner a high number of top-ten votes is Kershaw’s teammate, Kenley Jansen. His 40 saves rank second in the National League, but more importantly his 1.36 ERA and 0.74 WHIP are astronomically low. His 14.32 K/9 destroys the mark of any of the starters we discussed, and what’s even more impressive is the fact that he’s walked just seven batters in an even 66 innings of work.

For those keeping track of all the latest stats in real time, Scherzer is on the bump on Sunday afternoon for the Nationals against the Mets in New York, while Kershaw is seeking his league-leading 18th victory against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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Dave Roberts Hopes to Restore Team Continuity During Stretch Run

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With eight games now remaining in the regular season, Dodgers‘ skipper Dave Roberts hinted to the media on Friday that he will revert to using the best possible lineups down the stretch run of the schedule, indicating that the most important matter is getting into a consistent pattern of playing good baseball, as there will be enough time for players to rest between the season finale and the beginning of the NLDS on October 6.

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Dodgers Clinch Fifth Straight National League West Title

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With a win over the Giants on Friday evening, the Dodgers clinched the 2017 National League West Division Championship. It’s the Dodgers’ fifth straight and 16th overall NL West title, as the club reached the postseason in five consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

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Dodgers 2017 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.

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Better Playoff Roster Option: Kenta Maeda or Hyun-Jin Ryu?

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Among the minds of many fans of the Dodgers, there seems to be the speculation that there are quite a few auditions currently being held for spots on the prospective NLDS roster. Yet, outside of perhaps one or two last minute decisions, the roster is probably close to being solidified—at least in the eyes of the management crew. One of the final contemplations, however, will be trying to figure out how to put the finishing touches on the bullpen, which could very well boil down to the inclusion of either Kenta Maeda or Hyun-Jin Ryu.

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Dodgers Prospects: An In-Depth Conversation with Dennis Santana

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

For those of you who follow the farm system of the Dodgers closely, you’ll know that the Double-A Tulsa Drillers had one of their best seasons in recent history. Anchored by the Texas League batting champ and MVP Matt Beaty, coupled with some of the best pitchers in the entire organization, the Drillers came up just one game short of bringing home their first league championship in 19 seasons.

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3 Reasons Why Yasmani Grandal Continues to Lose Playing Time

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On the offensive side of things, there’s probably not a streakier hitter on the Dodgers‘ entire roster than catcher Yasmani Grandal. When he’s hot, he’s often capable of carrying the team’s production on his own shoulders, but when he’s cold, he sometimes shuts down completely. During these quiet stretches, the club’s output with the lumber frequently feels the effects of such nosedives, especially when he’s entrenched smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles batting order.

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Better Playoff Roster Option: Joc Pederson, Andre Ethier or Curtis Granderson?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

In just a little under three weeks, the Dodgers will embark on yet another postseason journey, with this year’s aspirations the highest they’ve been in recent years. The Los Angeles management crew will certainly have a difficult task in store when assembling the club’s prospective playoff roster, as a number of different factors will come into play for the squad selected to begin the NLDS on October 6.

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Reader Appreciation Giveaway No. 3: Two More Clayton Kershaw Rookie Cards

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(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

In an effort to gain momentum and show a bit of reader appreciation heading into the autumn months, the folks here at Think Blue Planning Committee decided it would be a great time to conduct our third official giveaway—another set of two Clayton Kershaw Bowman rookie cards.

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Drillers Set Sights on Texas League Championship

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

For those of you who have been fully entrenched in the big league scene of the Dodgers and unable to catch any of the latest minor league action, we have some good news for you—the Double-A Tulsa Drillers are only one game away from securing their first Texas League Championship since 1998.

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