After tying for the league lead in wins and finishing first in ERA, David Price claimed his first American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, picking up 14 of the 28 first-place votes.
Justin Verlander, last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, finished second with 13 first-place votes and totaled 149 points to Price’s 153. Jered Weaver came in third, though he didn’t get the remaining first-place vote. That went to Rays closer Fernando Rodney, courtesy of Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The four-point margin of victory was the closest in an AL Cy Young race since Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain tied for the award in 1969.
Price tied Weaver at 20 wins and ended the year with a 2.56 ERA, just ahead of Verlander at 2.64. Weaver, at 2.81, was the only other AL starter to finish with a sub-3.00 ERA.
Verlander received less run support than Price and ended up at 17 wins. Still, many will argue that he should have won the award. He led the AL in innings pitched and strikeouts. He threw 27 more innings than Price and 50 more innings than Weaver. He also was pitching in front of the worst defense of the trio and in the most favorable park for hitters. On the other hand, he did pitch in the weakest of the AL’s three divisions.
Price previously finished second in the Cy Young balloting to Felix Hernandez in 2010. The three-time All-Star is 61-31 with a 3.16 ERA since debuting with the Rays at the end of the 2008 season.
The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.
Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.
Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.