Justin Verlander has gone 10-1 in the second half to emerge as the clear front-runner for the AL Cy Young award, but his 3.00 ERA since the All-Star break actually ranks “only” 22nd among all pitchers with at least 50 innings.
Here are the MLB leaders in ERA since the break:
Clayton Kershaw 75 1.44
Cliff Lee 66 1.76
Ian Kennedy 74 1.95
Ervin Santana 85 2.13
Tim Lincecum 67 2.16
Jon Lester 58 2.18
Jeremy Hellickson 61 2.37
Zack Greinke 74 2.42
Matt Cain 77 2.47
Tim Hudson 76 2.50
Not a whole lot of surprises on that list. Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee have been amazing all season, and along with Roy Halladay are basically neck-and-neck atop the NL Cy Young race right now.
And here are the worst ERAs since the All-Star break:
A.J. Burnett 53 7.81
Brian Duensing 51 7.76
Trevor Cahill 55 6.67
Jason Vargas 59 6.56
Brad Penny 51 6.49
My favorite stat: A.J. Burnett has allowed 46 earned runs in 53 innings since the break. Kershaw has allowed 56 earned runs in 206 innings all season.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.