The awards parade continues at 1:30 Eastern today, as the NL Cy Young Award is going to be announced. Guys like Javier Vazquez and Josh Johnson could get some love, but most folks (including this folk) believes it will come down to one of these three guys:
Tim Lincecum: the incumbent had a lower ERA than he did in 2008. He walked fewer guys than he did in 2008. He struck only four fewer across a nearly identical number of innings. The only place where he took a hit was in his win total, and that’s largely on the Giants’ offense. If Greinke’s award showed anything it showed that the writers are smarter about wins these days, so that shouldn’t be fatal to his chances, but they’re still all about storylines. Greinke was the new young stud to most BBWAA members. Lincecum was that last year. It would not surprise me at all if the writers did here what they so often do and vote for a fresher face, even if he had a lesser arm.
Chris Carpenter: Not a fresh face, but certainly a comeback story and writers LOVE comeback stories. That aside, he’s not all storyline. In fact, he’d be a great choice as he led the league in ERA, didn’t allow home runs, didn’t walk anyone and was absolutely essential to the Cards race to the division title.
Adam Wainwright: Won more games than either Carpenter or Lincecum, but allowed more baserunners and stuff too (his WHIP: 1.210. Lincecum’s: 1.047; Carpenter’s: 1.007). He’s the freshest face here, though, and even if the wins won’t be the determining factor, at least a couple of writers may go in with that in an otherwise close race.
If you put a gun to my head I give it to Carpenter, though I’d be happy with Lincecum too because (a) it’s close; and (b) man, he’s pretty awesome to watch and dammit this is my blog and I’m allowed to credit him for that. I think the writers will go with one of those two first and Wainwright in third.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.