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Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer win 2017 Cy Young Awards

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Indians starter Corey Kluber won the 2017 American League Cy Young Award as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. It’s Kluber’s second Cy Young Award, having also won it in 2014.

Kluber, 31, led all of baseball with 18 wins, a 2.25 ERA, a 0.869 WHIP, and a 7.36:1 K:BB ratio. He also struck out 265 batters and walked only 36 in 203 2/3 innings. In doing so, Kluber helped the Indians win 102 games, including 22 wins in a row from August 24 to September 14. The Indians were ultimately stopped in the ALDS by the Yankees in five games.

Kluber received 28 of 30 first-place votes, as well as two second-place votes. Chris Sale of the Red Sox, who finished in second place, had two first-place votes and 28 second-place votes. Third-place finisher Luis Severino of the Yankees had 20 third-place votes. Also receiving votes were Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Astros, Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox, Ervin Santana of the Twins, and Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays.

In the National League, Nationals starter Max Scherzer took home the hardware for the second year in a row and the third time in his career. He’s the first pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards since Clayton Kershaw in 2013-14.

Scherzer, 33, led the National League with 268 strikeouts and a 0.902 WHIP. He also went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and walked only 55 across 200 2/3 innings.

Scherzer received 27 of 30 first-place votes, as well as three second-place votes. Kershaw finished in second place with three first-place votes, 25 second place votes, and one third-place vote. The Nats’ Stephen Strasburg finished in third place with one second-place vote and 23 third-place votes. Also receiving votes were the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood, the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez, the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, and the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson.

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were “technologically and analytically advanced”

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Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

And yes, that includes former Astros Dallas Keuchel, who was praised for “apologizing” at a White Sox fan event on Friday, but whose “apology” was couched in a lot of deflection and excuse-making about how it was just something that was done at the time and about how technology was to blame. Keuchel also tried to minimize it, saying that the Astros didn’t do it all the time. Which is rich given that the most prominent video evidence of their trash can-banging scheme came from a blowout Astros win in a meaningless August game against a losing team. If they were doing it in that situation, please, do not tell me they weren’t doing it when games really mattered.

Anyway, I’d like to think Verlander was just trying to take a stab at a joke here, because Verlander is the wrong guy to be sending to be sending any kind of messages diminishing the cheating given that he has a pretty solid track record of holding other players’ feet to the fire when they get busted.

For example, here he was in 2018 after Robinson Canó got busted for PEDs:

Of course, consistency can be a problem for Verlander when his teammates are on the ones who are on the hook. Here was his response to Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta being suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal:

“Everybody makes mistakes. He’s my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field. If my brother makes a mistake, especially if he owns up to it and serves his time, I don’t see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that. “It’s one thing to step up and be a man and own up to his mistake.”

Verlander, it should also be noted, was very outspoken about teams engaging in advanced sign-stealing schemes once upon a time. here he was in 2017, while still with the Tigers, talking about such things in a June 2017 interview with MLive.com.

“We don’t have somebody, but I’m sure teams have a person that can break down signals and codes and they’ll have the signs before you even get out there on the mound.  It’s not about gamesmanship anymore. It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”

Which makes me wonder how he felt when he landed on the Astros two months later and realized they had a sophisticated cheating operation underway. If the feelings were mixed, he was able to bury the part of them which had a problem with it, because he’s said jack about it since this all blew up in November. And, of course, has happily accepted the accolades and the hardware he he has received since joining Houston, some of which was no doubt acquired by virtue of a little extra, ill-gotten run support.

Anyway, wake me up when someone — anyone — associated with the Astros shows some genuine accountability about this.