Brian Wilson has mild oblique strain, Opening Day in doubt

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Here’s some bad news for the defending World Series champions.

According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Wilson underwent an MRI this morning which revealed a “mild” strain of his left oblique muscle. Wilson told the training staff that he suffered the injury during his most recent outing on Thursday night.

While Giants manager Bruce Bochy wouldn’t definitively say that the bearded one is in doubt for Opening Day, he acknowledged that there’s some concern due to the nature of the injury.

“There’s concern, sure,” Bochy said. “Sometimes these things take longer than others. On Monday we’ll have a better idea, and then I can tell you how much concern, but sure there’s concern when it’s an oblique.

“We still have some time here. He was at a pretty good place before he injured it, how he was throwing. It’s a setback. Hopefully Monday we’ll find it it’s not too long of a setback. I know how tough and strong he is. He isn’t overly concerned.

Remember, Wilson was sidelined for the first week or so of exhibition action due to a back injury, so while relievers don’t need many appearances to get ready for the season, he needs to get some work.

Bochy told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that it’s “premature” to name a replacement for Wilson, but you’d have to figure that Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and possibly Javier Lopez would be in the mix.

Once again, Cy Young votes from the Tampa Bay chapter were interesting

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In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.

In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.

Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.

If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.

Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.

Upton had another tweet for the occasion: