We know baseball's regular season is a marathon, and one win in April equals one win in September. But when your team is coming to the finish line after running its metaphorical 26 miles, it has to feel good to have someone who can kick the guy behind you in the shins.

Justin Verlander was that guy Tuesday, kicking the Twins and their playoff hopes squarely where it hurts, but does one clutch performance when the Tigers needed it most put him in the thick of the AL Cy Young race?

With his team in danger of waking up this morning tied for first in the AL Central, Verlander beat the Twins and improved to 18-9 with a 3.45 ERA this season. CC Sabathia has 19 wins, Felix Hernandez has the same number of wins and a better ERA and Zack Greinke has fewer wins but the best ERA of all. But Verlander had the spotlight Tuesday night.

AL Cy Young Ballot: How do you rank the contenders for the award?


Justin for Cy Young. Coming through in a pennant race is normally significant. Zach and Felix aren't pitching for much at this point.

-- GNewsomII

You should really go see Greinke pitch. If you haven't yet, it's really something. Plus it's cool that the dude is just a total space cadet.

-- michissouri10