I was being snarky yesterday when I said that the O’s were gonna be upset at the Red Sox Pawtucktey lineup yesterday. After all, the O’s are pros. They know they can’t talk about that kind of thing. Take care of your own business and it doesn’t matter who the Red Sox run out against the Yankees.
But nope, they do care. From the Boston Globe:
According to a major league source, Orioles folks weren’t thrilled to see the Red Sox lineup Monday night. Dustin Pedroia was out with a jammed left finger and Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been nursing a lat strain, also was held out against Sabathia …
… “Can’t wait to watch the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Yankees in a game that’s pretty important to the AL East race,” said a longtime National League scout. “Are the Red Sox trying to help the Yankees win this thing? I’ve never seen such a weak roster.”
Said another major league official, “The Yankees have five potential Hall of Famers at the top of their order. The Red Sox have guys who don’t even know where the Hall of Fame is.”
Funny, no one from the Orioles complained about it when those same Pawtucket Red Sox, more or less, rolled over for them last weekend.
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: