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Rocky Mountain Cy?!?

By Chris Jacobson

Ubaldo Jimenez pitched seven innings of two hit ball against the Dodgers Sunday night. He gave up one run and kept his impossibly low ERA below one after his seventh start. He looked every bit the Cy Young candidate that he has all season long. That’s the good news. The bad news is Jimenez was outdueled by Clayton Kershaw who only surrendered two hits himself. The problem is this, Kershaw’s last start against the Brewers where he surrendered seven runs in one and one third innings. Clayton Kershaw is hittable and the Rockies just didn’t do it.

It may be a little early to be talking Cy Young but it looks as though Jimenez will remain in the conversation for the season. His downfall may be his offense. At this point there is more than a full point differential between Jimenez' and Philly’s ace Roy Halladay’s run support. The gap is even wider if you eliminate the twelve run shellacking the Rockies put on the Diamondbacks on April 27th. The problem with a gap in run support is the advantage it gives one pitcher. Where Jimenez will take some tough losses (like Sunday’s loss) Halladay will get some cheap wins. The Philly’s star will seldom give up five runs in a start but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that he still wins the game when he does. The Philly’s offense is that good.

In recent years the Cy Young voters have been open to a pitcher winning the award without being best in wins or even sniffing the twenty win mark. Last year Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainright both lost the Cy Young despite having nineteen wins each. The pitchers they lost to were dominant on the mound despite having bad offenses behind them and therefore low win totals. Tim Lincecum’s fifteen wins was the lowest total for a NL Cy Young winner in thirty years and four behind Adam Wainright, and Zach Greinke was three wins behind Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia. Ubaldo’s 2010 season could be equal or better than either Greinke’s or Lincecum’s campaigns in 2009. That may not be enough.

Lincecum and Greinke won the award without high win totals but were both among the top three in strikeouts and quality starts. Both were in the top three in ERA. Both of them looked dominant when they took the mound. All of these qualities will probably describe Ubaldo Jimenez’ 2010 season.

The difference between the 2009 and the 2010 Cy Young race is the fact that Lincecum and Greinke didn’t have to get votes against a twenty game winner. Ubaldo will keep pace with Lincecum, Wainright and Chris Carpenter. Roy Halladay, on the other hand, is among the best pitchers in baseball and is defended by the best offense in the national league. The combination of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jason Werth, Jimmy Rollins and the rest of the offense represents what may be the best Philly’s team of all time. With them, Halladay has a chance to win a few more than twenty. He is the frontrunner in the Cy race.

That being said, discussing whether or not a Colorado Rocky has a chance at a Cy Young is new. It’s unique to this town. It’s like questioning as to whether or not the Clippers can take a run at the Lakers. It’s the Detroit Lions carrying 3/1 odds of winning the Super Bowl. “Colorado Rockies Cy Young candidate” is a stones throw away from being an oxymoron, but it sure is fun to talk about.

2 comments:

  1. With all the injuries - let's not curse Ubaldo!

    ReplyDelete
  2. As good as Ubaldo has been and I think will continue to be, you usually have to come close once or twice before you win major MLB awards. His competition is fierce. He is on helluva a pitcher though

    ReplyDelete