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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.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.