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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Several Reasons to Stay Optimistic as Postseason Approaches

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It’s been a rather depressing end of summer for Dodgers fans, as the Boys in Blue couldn’t quite get much going through the end of August and the month of September. But today the Northern Hemisphere turns to autumn, and the Dodgers will be celebrating Clinchmas, and hopefully those losing days will fall behind them.

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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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Kershaw and Jansen Will Lead Dodgers in the Playoffs, but They Can’t Win by Themselves

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(Mandatory Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw. Everybody knows that name. It’s a name that is often followed by these words: “The Best Pitcher on the Planet.” I agree with that statement, and not just because I’m a fan of the Dodgers. I agree with it because it just makes sense. People often say that Kershaw has the potential to be the best pitcher baseball has ever seen, all he needs to do is win a World Series. The Dodgers have as good of a chance at a championship this year than they ever have before.

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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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The Dodgers Won’t Find Their Way Back to Winning by Looking Forward

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(Mandatory Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Our beloved Dodgers need to look back to July.

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The Dodgers Will Turn It Around, But Will It Be Soon Enough?

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It’s difficult to even know where to begin when writing an article on the Dodgers these days. Last Monday, I was flippant. Friday, I was morose and somewhat at a loss for what to say, and now….really, what does one say?

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Dodgers Roster: A Few More Thoughts About the Starting Rotation

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At this point last week, many followers of the Dodgers were beginning to show signs of concern for a major collapse in the standings, yet many close to the team who knew a little bit about mathematical probability simply shrugged off the slump as a common occurrence which could happen to any contending squad.

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There’s Still No Need for Panic, but This Is Getting Ugly Very Quickly

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“Are you nervous?” my husband asks me before the Dodgers game. “Not yet,” I reply. I rattle off a number of reasons why not, that this isn’t the batting order that worked so beautifully earlier in the season, that the pitchers who got demolished in Arizona did really well against the same team the second go-round, Kershaw is on the mound.

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No “Relief” in Sight for Dodgers’ Current Losing Skid

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(Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold/USA TODAY Sports)

The good news is with 25 games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Dodgers still maintain a 12-1/2 game lead over the Diamondbacks in what has progressively become an interesting race in the National League West. The bad news is that Los Angeles runs into Zack Greinke on Tuesday evening in the middle game of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. Greinke seeks to notch his 17th win of the season and keep the momentum rolling for the Snakes, who have now won 11 straight and 13 of their last 14 contests.

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