by Stuart Kirsch
AL Cy Young Tracker: No Longer a Two-Man Race as Lance Lynn Steps Up
Gerrit Cole was the preseason pick for the AL Cy Young, and he continues to perform at a level befitting that prognostication. Shane Bieber has continued on a trajectory that has made him the favorite at the quarter pole of the season.
Now Texas hurler Lance Lynn is making a statement that the Cy Young decision won’t be just a two-man race. The big righty tossed a complete game two-hitter, defeating the Rockies 3-2. Lynn allowed one earned run and fanned six in the effort, raising his record to 3-0 and lowering his ERA to a league-leading 1.11.
Lynn, who did not allow a run in his first two starts of the year, has struck out 36 against 12 walks in 36+ innings over his five starts. Needless to say he has eclipsed 100 pitches in each game. Lynn’s odds for the AL Cy Young award have dipped to +700.
AL Cy Young Odds: Bieber and Cole stay tight
Cleveland’s Shane Bieber remains the odds favorite for the award, dropping to +175. While fellow starters Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac have dominated the news for their off the field antics, Bieber continues to dominate from the pitching rubber.
The 25-year-old picked up his fourth win of the season against no defeats by shutting out the Tigers over seven strong. He scattered three hits and a walk while sending 11 back to the dugout with a K. Bieber’s ERA is 1.30 with 54 strikeouts in 34.2 innings, the third most strikeouts of any modern pitcher in his first five starts of a season.
Continuing his streak of decisions without a loss, Gerrit Cole picked up his fourth W on the year by means of a four-hit, one-run, seven-inning effort against the hapless Red Sox. Bouncing back from a relatively poor showing against the Rays, Cole showed better results following a tweak of his delivery.
He gave up a single run in seven strong innings, a solo shot by Alex Verdugo, while striking out eight and walking none. Cole lowered his ERA back under three to 2.76, and polished his win-loss record to 4-0. The odds of a Gerrit Cole 2020 AL Cy Young award narrowed to +215.
AL Central Sophomores Collecting Wins
The American League Central now features two second-year pitchers who are tied with Bieber and Cole to lead the league with four victories. Both Dylan Cease and Randy Dobnak opened the season with a loss and have since each scored a victory in four straight starts.
Dobnak, the 25-year-old Twin, has surrendered only four earned runs over 25+ innings, including shutout appearances over the Indians and Pirates. He is 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA, striking out 14 and walking six. He is averaging just over five innings per appearance and has thrown more than 80 pitches only once. Cease is 4-1 for the White Sox with a 3.16 ERA over his 25+ innings. Neither are on the board with odds, but with the strength of that division, keep an eye on their progress.
AL Cy Young Odds: Up and Down for Bundy
Los Angeles Angels’ right-hander Dylan Bundy has been moving up the ranks of Cy Young contenders. He blanked the red-hot Athletics, striking out ten and scattering four hits in seven innings while his teammates put a six-spot on the board.
But a week later, he was the one giving up the long ball, offering up two homers to the visitors from the other side of the bay. The Giants scored four runs on four hits and four walks in four innings off Bundy, who took the loss. Bundy’s odds for the AL Cy are at +750; he is 3-2 on the season with a 2.48 ERA and 38 strikeouts.