AL Cy Young Award on tap today

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This should be a no-brainer.  The only reason — and it’s not a good reason — that anyone would not have Zack Greinke listed #1 on their ballot is because they don’t think his 16 wins for an awful team are worth the 19 wins CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander posted for good teams.

Such a vote would have to come despite Greinke’s better ERA and better ratios. Such a vote would also have to ignore the fact that Greinke had four starts in which he got no decisions despite allowing zero runs or one run. Indeed, overall, Greinke averaged seven innings and an ERA of 2.35 in his nine no-decisions. He’d easily have 20 wins — and probably more — if he played for even a merely crappy team instead of that train wreck in Kansas City.  The upshot:  if Greinke doesn’t win the Cy Young Award today, we’ll be witnessing one of the larger miscarriages of justice in postseason awards history.

Beyond Greinke I put them in this order:  Felix Hernandez (great season, but behind Greinke everywhere that matters), Roy Halladay (ditto, but behind Hernandez), Justin Verlander (ERA too high for serious consideration) and CC Sabathia (a win for CC would be to give the CY Young to the Yankees lineup).

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.