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Tuesday, September 28, 2010
1st Pitch: AL Cy Young decided tonight?


Today’s Trivia: To go with 21 wins, Roy Halladay now has 219 strikeouts and just 30 walks. Who is the only pitcher since 1900 with a season of at least 21 wins and 200 strikeouts with 30 or fewer walks?

Quick Hits: Don’t be surprised if the AL Cy Young is determined on Tuesday, as CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez and David Price all take the hill. Basking in a 5-0 September, Halladay likely locked up the NL award on Monday. But let’s revisit the AL battle, which also has a pair of Red Sox quietly tapping on the door.

Hernandez• As strong as all of his other numbers are, could Felix possibly win the award with a losing record? He enters today 12-12. The worst winning percentage for a starter who won the Cy Young was .600. That was Gaylord Perry in 1972 when he went 24-16.

• Hernandez has a 2.31 ERA, but there’s a decent chance he ends up with a losing record. The last AL pitcher with 30+ starts and an ERA that low to post a losing record? Dutch Leonard went 16-17 despite a 2.17 ERA for the 1917 Red Sox. Since then, the closest thing would be Joe Horlen (12-14, 2.37 ERA) for the ’68 White Sox.

• Sabathia goes for his 21st win on Tuesday. He is 10-1 combined against the Indians, Orioles and Mariners – the teams with the three worst records in the AL.

• How important is run support? Sabathia is 19-2 when the Yankees score three or more runs and just 1-5 otherwise. Hernandez is 10-2 with three or more runs of support and just 2-10 with fewer.

• Since August 1, King Felix is just 5-4 despite a 1.22 ERA. Sabathia is 7-4 with a 3.46 ERA.

Price• Price and Sabathia both have six no decisions this season. In his, Price has a 2.70 ERA and the Rays have offered up a total of eight runs while he was in the game. In other words, his no decisions are the result of a lack of support. Meanwhile, Sabathia has a 4.03 ERA in his six no decisions, with a total of 29 runs scored while on the mound.

• While the above may point to Price over Sabathia, factor this in as well. In his 12 losses, the Mariners have scored a total of seven runs while Hernandez was in the game. His last five losses? They have not scored a single run while he was still in the game.

• Jon Lester is 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA in September with another start scheduled for Thursday. If finishing strong is a factor in the award, consider this: With a win and six strikeouts, Lester would be just the third AL pitcher over the last 50 years to go 6-0 with 50 strikeouts in September/October. The others? Nolan Ryan in 1973 and Jim Kaat in 1967.

• Also in line for one more start, Clay Buchholz could – rather quietly – post 18 wins and an ERA under 2.30. Since 1975, only nine AL pitchers have posted those numbers. Six won the Cy Young. Randy Johnson lost out in 1997 to another pitcher with those qualifications (Roger Clemens). The other two were both Red Sox: Pedro Martinez (2002) and Clemens (1990).

Today’s Leaderboard
Hernandez makes his final road start of the season. His 2.55 road ERA is the third best in the AL, but he has just a 4-8 record to show for it. In those eight losses, the Mariners have provided just four runs while he was in the game. Meanwhile, the top two road ERAs belong to Red Sox, neither of whom have had trouble picking up wins.

Key Matchups
• With their postseason hopes dwindling, the Rockies face a familiar foe on Tuesday in Hiroki Kuroda. In possibly his last start with the Dodgers, Kuroda comes into the game with a 3.27 ERA. However, take out the 5.64 ERA from three starts against Colorado and it would fall to 2.95. It’s not CarGo or Tulo doing the most damage against Kuroda. Rather, Seth Smith has been his nemesis with six hits in 11 at-bats.

Sabathia• Sabathia is looking for his 21st win. Jose Bautista seeks his 53rd home run. So who has the better shot? Sabathia hasn’t faced the Blue Jays in 2010, but is 8-3 lifetime against the Jays and 4-1 in Toronto. He’s owned Vernon Wells (.194) and Aaron Hill (.158). Bautista is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against Sabathia. But in a sense, these two have never met. That is to say it was a different Bautista given that their most recent meeting was in May 2009

Trivia Answer: In 1904, Cy Young went 26-16 with 200 strikeouts and 29 walks. Of course, his miniscule walk total came in 380 innings.