Saturday, June 25, 2011

It could be Justin Verlander's year

Sometimes during Academy Awards season, a certain actor or director is swept up to front runner status not necessarily because they gave their best work but because they were simply due for an award.

Martin Scorsese's best film was not The Departed, but he hadn't won an Oscar and he was due.

Million Dollar Baby was far from Morgan Freeman's best performance, but he had never won and probably should have won 2 or 3 times before.

Could you even SIT through The Reader? I barely did, but they made up for Kate Winslet's lack of Oscars.

I have a feeling that something similar with Justin Verlander this year and the Cy Young Award race.

He's had 4 terrific seasons in the bigs (and one lousy 2008 season.)
He has led the league in strikeouts before, in wins, in innings pitched and consistently chucks 200 innings.

He has a pair of no hitters in his career and already has a pair of top 5 finishes in the Cy Young voting.

He's never won and frankly he is due. He had another awesome performance today against a tough Arizona team. 8 innings of shutout ball. 14 strikeouts to 1 walk. His ERA is down to 2.38... 1.30 runs below his career ERA going into today's game. He leads the league in strikeouts, innings pitched and victories at this point.

And he is anchoring a Tigers staff that, as of this writing, is tied for first place in the American League central.

The Tigers are roughly 47% of the way through the season and right now Verlander looks like the man to beat in the Cy Young race. Josh Beckett and Jered Weaver have been lights out. C.C. Sabathia is great and Felix Hernandez is coming back to form. And James Shields is quietly having a terrific year.

But when push comes to shove, I think Verlander might win this.

After all, he's due.

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