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MLB Midseason Award Winners: Cy Young

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There was no baseball yesterday. There is no baseball today. There will be baseball tomorrow, but not until 7:05 PM, so it’s basically three days without anyone throwing a pitch in anger. Let’s kill the time, then, by arguing about who, if the season ended today, would be your award winners. Next up: the Cy Young Award

AL CY Young Award

Chris Sale is the best answer in my book. And probably everyone else’s. He leads the AL in strikeouts and innings pitched. He’s second in ERA, but not by much. He has the best WHIP. He’s second in wins if you’re into that sort of thing, and and he’s allowed only two earned runs in 22 innings in his three no-decisions. He’s allowing fewer hits per nine innings than any other qualified starter in the AL. If you wanna go with the narrative, he’s doing it in Boston which has historically not been kind to big name newcomers. People will credit him for toughness for that, even though that whole Boston thing makes me roll my eyes.

Jason Vargas is has made a lot of headlines in the first half. He leads in ERA, ERA+ and wins. He also trails Sale by a full 100 strikeouts. Smoke and mirrors. Corey Kluber, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers have been good, though all have missed time. Really, though, Sale has been the best pitcher in the American League and that’s what this is all about.

NL Cy Young Award

What kind of crazy is it that people can, reasonably, say that Clayton Kershaw is having a “down” year when he’s on pace to go 25-4 with a 2.18 ERA and 286 strikeouts? We’re spoiled, frankly. We don’t deserve him. He’s the best pitcher since Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens roamed the Earth in their primes. Before he’s done he’ll be among the best to ever play the game. He’s already there, really.

Still, Max Scherzer has had a better half. He’s been damn nigh historic, in fact, leading Kershaw by a full win in WAR, which is almost hard to get your mind around. He’s on pace for 318 strikeouts in 236 innings. His rate stats are astounding, as he’s allowing only 5.1 hits per nine innings and is striking out 12.1 batters per nine. Opponents are batting just .163 with a .514 OPS against him. He leads the NL in FIP, ERA, ERA+ complete games, strikeouts, WHIP, hit rate and K rate, all while being a total workhorse, trailing only Kershaw in innings pitched.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.