The results have been released and Alexander Mendoza was right: Felix Hernandez has won the 2010 American League Cy Young Award. He beat out David Price, who finished second, and CC Sabathia who took third. Jon Lester and Jered Weaver rounded out the top five. Ultimately — and as I predicted — the voting wasn’t that close: King Felix won fairly easily, taking 21 of the 28 first place votes. The most scandalous thing I’ve seen so far is that David Price was left off a ballot. Given that voters were voting for the top five, that’s a tad curious, though maybe not to backers of Hernandez, Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jered Weaver and Jon Lester.
For the second year in a row, the Baseball Writers Association of America gave the award to the better pitcher, not the pitcher with a bigger win total. For as much vitriol as has been thrown at the BBWAA in the past, they should be lauded here for a job well done. And we should probably acknowledge at this point that, in the run up to the awards, the “old school” writers who say things contrary to the prevalent sabermetric thinking likely aren’t all that representative of the BBWAA voting pool in the first place. These arguments we have, I’m beginning to realize, are between the wrong people. Even if they are highly enjoyable.
In a nice change from usual practice, the BBWAA has listed which writers voted for which players for first place. For those of you who must have blood from any who dare oppose the King Felix orthordoxy, know that Mel Antonen, Tony Fabrizio, Phil Rogers and Chris Assenheimer voted Price for first place. George King, Bob Elliott and Sheldon Ocker had Sabathia first.
Congratulations, King Felix.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.