April 24, 2014

Our Vote for the NL Cy Young Award Goes To…

Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter

Well, I’m back from Hawaii and ready for Game Four, baby!!  Wolf has been solid all year, and hopefully the Dodger bats will finally come through for the guy.

In thinking about stand-out pitchers from this season, I thought I’d weigh in with my picks for the 2009 NL Cy Young Award.  The competition has been hot and heavy this year with numerous candidates worthy of discussion, including Chris Carpenter, Jorge De La Rosa, Tim Lincecum, Javier Vazquez and Adam Wainwright (to name a few), but here are my top three picks:

Third Place: Tim Lincecum (San Francisco Giants)

The reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner, Tim Lincecum, put together another worthy season for the San Francisco Giants with a 15-7 record, a 2.48 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP  along with a league-leading 261 Ks.  Numbers wise, I just felt Lincecum didn’t quite stack up with the competition in Carpenter and Wainwright, despite having four complete games, two shutouts and allowing just 1o homer runs all year.  Nothing against Lincecum, but he just came in third in my book.

Second Place: Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)

The bottom lie is that wins count, and nobody was better than Adam Wainwright in wins with 19 this year, and he pretty much was near the top of the NL wins category all year long.  Wainwright  also led the league in innings pitched with 233, averaging an impressive 6.8 innings per start.  The negatives on Wainwright include having just one complete game, and a WHIP of 1.21, placing him in second place to that of fellow St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter.  His 2.63 ERA also trailed Carpenter’s, and while he did have the edge on strikeouts (212 vs. 144), I don’t value these as much when thinking about the Cy Young Award, so am going to have to rank Wainwright a close second.

First Place: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals)

And that leaves Chris Carpenter at the top of the heap.  He finished second in wins with 17, along with an incredible 2.24 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.  Like Wainwright, Carpenter averaged 6.8 innings per start.  He also had three complete games, one shutout and was the ace of the team.  Carnpenter was the man La Russa turned to when he needed a big win, and he delivered.  Congratulations Chris, you get our vote for the 2009 NL Cy Young Award.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if the Dodgers had a true ace on their staff?  TJ Simers over at the LA Times has some interesting thoughts on the matter in today’s paper, noting that the last Dodger to win the Cy Young Award was 21 years ago when Orel “Bulldog” Hershiser won it in 1988.

Our Vote for NL Manager of the Year

Jim Tracy

Jim Tracy

As I sit here on one of Maui’s amazing beaches, I got to thinking about the manager of the year voting, and who I would vote for if given an opportunity.  There are certainly a number of worthy candidates with the favorites falling into two camps: the managers leading upstart teams on surprising runs, and those whose teams consistently deliver year after year.  I tend to favor the former category in MOY voting…there’s something to be said for teams that defy expectations and go on incredible runs deep into the regular season, but you can’t ignore managers that deliver contenders seemingly every year.

Finally, since I’ve tried to write this with minimal computer time, please excuse the lack of numbers…gotta get back to the beach and continue working on my playoff tan!  With that said, here are my votes:

3rd Place: Tony La Russa

Sure, La Russa has the best player in the game in Albert Pujols and a stacked lineup.  But once the Cardinals added Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and others, he deftly put the pieces in place (including moving Skip Schumaker to second base from the outfield) to lock up the division early.  They did struggle down the stretch, but the competition was non-existent.  He deserves third place.

2nd Place: Joe Torre

Like La Russa, I feel Joe Torre had a very strong lineup to start the season, but in my opinion, Joe deserves consideration for manager of the year due to how he handled the Manny Ramirez situation, and specifically his use of Juan Pierre.  In addition, he managed a shaky starting pitching roster that had to overcome numerous hurdles.  In the end, they finished with some on the best numbers in the National League.  And like Toy La Russa, Torre has proven he can deliver a contender year after year, seemingly with ease.

NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy

Jim Tracy gets our vote, as he literally turned this team around the Colorado Rockies after taking the reins following Clint Hurdle’s firing on May 29.  Consider the numbers: The Rockies were last in the NL West with a record of 18-28. After taking over as manager, he led them to a Wild Card playoff appearance and very nearly a division title.  Most importantly, Tracy gave his players (especially his bullpen) clear roles, and let them know how he intended to use them.  This in turn gave them confidence and the turnaround began.  Pretty incredible stuff.

So there are our votes…let us know what you think about our picks, or feel free to make a compelling argument for another manager.

Let’s Go Dodgers!

Time to man up, boys!  Looks (and sounds) like the Dodger faithful are out in force in San Diego in the hope of being on hand for the clinching of the division.  All the regulars are back in the lineup (minus Casey Blake) and Billingsley is back on the mound.  Here’s hoping Bills can put together a great start and the Dodger bats will cone alive and secure a victory.  While I’ll take a title with a Rockies loss, it’s way more satisfying to win with a win, you know?

Odd fact of the night: while it seems like the Dodgers have been losing a lot on the road as of late, a win tonight would be the Dodgers’ 46th win of the seaso away from Chavez Ravine, tying them for the most road wins since the 2002 season.

Bring on the Giants!

Jonathan Sanchez, SF Giants

There’s nothing like a three game series against the hated San Francisco Giants to get the blood going, and Vincente Padilla (3-0, 2.01) starts the series off against Jonathan Sanchez (6-12, 4.16).  According to the Giants media notes, Sanchez has been pitching well as of late, going 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA, holding opponents to a .154 average in his last five starts on the road against the Mets, Phillies, Rockies, Astros and Brewers.  Sanchez also has the lowest ERA of any pitcher in the NL on the road since August 4th (the next closest is Chris Carpenter with a 1.69 ERA, and Randy Wolf is fourth with an ERA of 1.96).

On another note, Ken Gurnick has a good article on Ned Colletti and his shrewd wheeling and dealing, that has brought George Sherrill, Ronnie Belliard, Vincente Padilla, Jon Garland and Jim Thome to Los Angeles.  From the story:

“Frank McCourt owns the Dodgers and Joe Torre manages them, but this is Ned Colletti’s club. He traded for Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez, he refused to trade away Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and he signed Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla.

Since the general manager took over four years ago, the only team in the league with more wins is Philadelphia. Colletti inherited a club that finished 20 games below .500, and in four years, the Dodgers are 50 games above .500. Colletti’s best win-loss record of the four seasons will be this year — after trimming the payroll by $20 million.”

Here’s hoping that Ned’s work will finally lead this team back to the World Series.

Photo Credit: Examiner.com

Friday Night Notes

A few interesting notes from tonight’s official pre-game media notes:

- The Dodgers have won a season-high three straight road series for the third time.  Their 40 road wins are third in the NL behind St. Louis (41) and Philadelphia (43).

- Since August 10, the Dodgers team ERA is 2.67 – a Major League best over a 29 game span.  Despite these numbers, the team is just 16-13 in these games.

- The Dodgers have played in 45 one-run games this season, going 26-19.  If I recall correctly, the Dodgers record in one-run games to start the season was amazing and they’ve since tailed off.   I’ll try and dig those numbers up.

- With both Kershaw and Wolf out for this weekend’s games, the Dodgers will start Kuroda (5-6, 4.15), Padilla (2-0, 2.76) and Billingsley (12-9, 3.93) against The Hated Ones.

And one other small note: Sunday’s game should be entertaining, as the Dodgers will be facing Brad Penny once again, but this time, in a Giants uniform!