Justin Verlander wins the AL MVP Award

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You can stuff your “pitchers can’t win the MVP Award” nonsense in a sack, mister, because Justin Verlander just won the 2011 MVP Award.

Verlander — the first starting pitcher in 25 years to be named MVP — got 13 of 28 first place votes.  He only got 27 of a possible 28 overall votes, however, meaning someone left him off because they want to make their own rules for the MVP and not follow BBWAA guidelines. Which is fun.  In other hilarious voting totals, Michael Young got a first place vote. You’ll never guess who cast it. Seems boneheaded to me.

Following Verlander in order: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano.

As we noted last week when he took the Cy Young, Verlander won the AL’s Triple Crown of pitching with 24 wins, a 2.40 earned run average and 250Ks.  He also led the AL in winning percentage, innings and opponents’ batting average. His 24 wins is the most for a pitcher since 1990 when Bob Welch won 27 games.  Of course Verlander’s season was way better than Welch’s, which tells you all you need to know about wins.

There are going to be people who rant and rave about this. Don’t listen to them. No, Verlander’s season was not historic for a pitcher, but that’s not the standard for making a pitcher an MVP.  He was outstanding and each of the position player candidates had a flaw, either in their legitimate candidacy or in the accepted narratives voters tend to like (e.g. they play for a winning team, etc.).

A perfect storm, if you will, blowing the MVP hardware in Justin Verlander’s direction.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”