Most people are high on the Nationals this season, but outfielder Bryce Harper might be the highest of all. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com spoke with Harper on Wednesday …
The biggest money quote in a string of them came when Harper was asked for his reaction to the Nationals’ surprise signing of Max Scherzer, a $210 million addition to what already was lauded as baseball’s best rotation.
“To be able to have a guy like Scherzer come in? I just started laughing,” Harper said. “I was like, ‘Where’s my ring?’ You know what I mean? It’s stupid. It’s absolutely stupid how good our staff is.
He’s right — between Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Doug Fister the starting rotation is indeed stupid-good — but that kind of confidence won’t sit well with everybody.
Washington has been considered something of a juggernaut three years running, yet the franchise has not captured a World Series championship in its 46-year existence (dating back to the Montreal Expos days).
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.