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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.

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.