MLB Insider: Twins dominated by all AL Cy Young candidates

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 7, 2013 - 7:47 PM

Unsure. Leading Cy Young Award candidates all dominate against Twins.

The Tigers’ Max Scherzer has all the wins you expect in a Cy Young winner, but exceptional run support explains some of that.

The Twins have been no help at all.

I received my official BBWAA ballot for the American League Cy Young Award recently, a personal invitation to become a target for passionate fans in a race that may turn into one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever faced. There are still three weeks to go, and perhaps someone will separate himself in that time the way Clayton Kershaw seems to have managed to do already in the National League.

But in trying to choose among (in alphabetical order, so no e-mails about my bias yet, please) Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer, with David Price, Chris Sale, Anibal Sanchez and James Shields a few steps behind, the Twins have remained remarkably unbiased. They have been dominated by each of them.

I understand the “eye test” shouldn’t count for much when considering a season’s worth of work, and I realize that one commanding performance, particularly against an offensively challenged team like these late-season Twins, doesn’t accurately reflect how that pitcher fared the other 30-plus times he pitched. Still, there’s no denying that it’s human nature to welcome confirmation of your opinions by evidence in front of you. And I watch the Twins for a living.

So when Hernandez allowed only three measly singles in eight innings against the Twins on July 26, I remember thinking “That was a Cy Young performance,” even after he gave up a ninth-inning run to send the game to extra innings.

It happened again last week. Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and looked simply unhittable. Well, until Chris Herrmann and Justin Morneau spoiled his perfection with back-to-back homers. Strangely, the Twins have been shut down by both Hernandez and Darvish, and won both games.

Scherzer hasn’t faced the Twins since May, odd given how frequently they meet, but he may well get one more shot when the Tigers visit Target Field in the season’s final week. But two of his 19 wins have come at the Twins’ expense, and he has posted a 2.70 ERA in those games.

Yeah, the Twins seem to be neutral in this race. So who deserves to win it?

Scherzer, of course, is a runaway leader in victories, but that statistic has little meaning, particularly considering Scherzer has received the most offensive support, nearly six runs per game, of anyone in the game. But his case is strong regardless — his ERA of 2.88 is second in the league behind Sanchez, and his Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which measures overall value toward winning, ranks behind only Sale (as calculated by baseball-reference.com) or Hernandez (as calculated by FanGraphs). He also leads the league in fewest baserunners (walks and hits per inning) and is second in strikeouts and strikeout rate.

Darvish, however, is the runaway leader in those strikeout categories. With an ERA of 2.91 and an average of 12 strikeouts per nine innings, he’s turning into a latter-day Nolan Ryan in Texas. He appeared primed to move into the favorite’s role in the race, but suddenly, Texas has lost his past four starts.

Hernandez is better than he was when he won the award in 2010, striking out more hitters per inning and walking fewer. He leads FanGraphs’ WAR calculation, though he may be hurt by being out of the pennant race.

With three weeks left, this ballot remains a mystery. But September makes a wonderful tiebreaker.

Strong in September

Josmil Pinto is off to a great start in his first September in the major leagues. But he’s not the first Twin to do so. Here are the best Septembers by Twins rookies, as measured by OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging).

Player OPS Year

Chris Parmelee 1.035 2011

Steve Lombardozzi .958 1985

Willie Norwood .954 1977

  • related content

  • Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

    Saturday September 7, 2013

    CENTRAL INTELLIGENCEIt’s been a frustrating season for Chicago. But several of the White Sox say their troubles were put in...

  • The Rangers’ Yu Darvish is a dominating pitcher, as seen in his strikeout numbers, but his team has lost his past four starts.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 21 2nd Half 13:28
Rice 54
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 58 2nd Half 3:19
Bradley 58
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 34 2nd Half
Marquette 45
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close