Updated Sep 14, 2012 - 12:03 pm
Can Felix still win the Cy Young Award?
By Gary Hill
Felix Hernandez steamed into September as a clear frontrunner for the 2012 Cy Young Award. He had only given up 5 runs in the month of August and his season ERA had plummeted to 2.43. His last two starts have been a different story. Felix has given up 11 earned runs in his last 8 2/3 innings pitched. To put his recent two game struggles in perspective, he only yielded 11 earned runs from July 8th to August 27th in 10 full starts. His ERA has jumped half a run to 2.92. However, he has not been the only AL elite pitcher to struggle in September. With just a handful of starts left in the season where does Felix stand in the Cy Young competition?
4. Jared Weaver- LAA- 17-4 2.74 ERA
Weaver has been sensational this year. He is 2nd in the AL in ERA (2.74), 1st in WHIP (1.00) and 1st in batting average against (.212). He has a no-hitter to his credit and has not given up a run in nine starts this year. The problem with Weaver's candidacy is that he is running a hefty inning deficit. He missed nearly all of June and parts of September. He has thrown 167 1/3 innings this year which is 22nd in the AL. His inning tally is 43 behind Justin Verlander and trails Felix Hernandez by 45 1/3. Weaver is averaging 6.4 innings a start which puts him over 6.5 average starts away from the leaders.
3. David Price- TB- 17-5 2.54 ERA
Price is the AL ERA leader in the AL by a significant margin- 2.54. He is 5th in Ks, WHIP and Batting Average Against. He has thrown 180 2/3 innings which is 7th in the AL. However, he is rapidly losing ground in innings pitched because he has not thrown since September 2nd.
2. Felix Hernandez- SEA- 13-8 2.92 ERA
Despite the recent struggles Felix is still 5th in the AL in ERA, 3rd in K's, 4th in WHIP, and 1st in innings pitched. He has five shutouts including a perfect game this year.
1. Justin Verlander- DET- 13-8 2.91 ERA
Verlander has struggled in the month of September as well (1-1 4.50 ERA). However, his season numbers are sensational with the 4th best ERA, 2nd in K's, 2nd in Batting Average Against, 2nd in WHIP, and 2nd in innings pitched. He leads the league with six complete games.
There is another helpful way to analyze the three pitchers. Here is what an average start for each pitcher looks like this year when you boil down their numbers:
Weaver- 6.4 IP 5 H 2.1 ER 1.5 BB 5 K
Price- 6.6 IP 5.5 H 1.8 R 2 BB 6.4 K
Felix- 7 IP 6.2 H 2.3 R 1.6 BB 6.6 K
Verlander- 7.2 IP 5.8 H 2.3 R 1.8 BB 7.3 K
The race is tight and three of the competitors pitch for teams desperately trying to pry their way into a postseason birth. Any of the four competitors have a chance to win it with a strong start, but Weaver and Price will have a difficult time closing the inning gap.
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