By: Stuart Kirsch
Racking up his major league-leading eighth win of the season, Cleveland Indian Shane Bieber has all but assured himself the American League Cy Young award with ten days left in the truncated season. Bieber’s record is 8-1 in eleven starts and 72.1 innings pitched.
His 1.74 ERA also leads the bigs, as do his 112 strikeouts and 13.9 strikeouts per nine, as well as numerous advanced stats. His 2.9 WAR is tied for the best in the American League. The odds of a Shane Bieber 2020 AL Cy Young Award are -125.
Bieber pitched deep into a 10-3 victory over Detroit, with ten Tiger punch outs over 7.2 innings. He mowed them down through the first seven, scattering two singles and walk and holding them scoreless until his last pitch of the game.
Jose Ramirez had put Bieber and the Indians up early with a first inning solo jack; by the time Detroit batted in the eight, the lead has been extended tenfold. The eighth started with two more strikeouts sandwiching a double. A walk put two on with two out for Willi Castro, who roped Bieber’s final offering to deep right for three-run bomb.
The Cleveland ace has put up great stats for the short season, and his MVP odds are favorite or co-favorite with Angels’ superstar outfielder Mike Trout, whose batting line is a .292 average, 16 homers, 43 RBI, 1.005 OPS. Others is the MVP conversation are White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu .335/18/53/1.032 and Minnesota designated hitter Nelson Cruz .314/16/32/1.032.
Bieber would be the twelfth man in baseball history to take home the two awards in the same season, and the eighth in the AL, joining Justin Verlander, Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Willie Hernandez, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, and Denny McLain.
Cole Climbs Back into Race on Yankees’ Hot Streak
Not long ago, the Yankees were tumbling, losers of five straight and sitting at .500 in third place in the AL East. Since then, with help from their premiere offseason acquisition, starter Gerrit Cole, the Bronx Bombers reeled off ten straight wins and clinched a playoff spot. Cole threw a complete-game, seven-inning shutout win over the Orioles, striking out nine, and allowing a walk and two hits to the Os.
He reprised that with another seven-inning victory over the Blue Jays. Giving up one run on three hits and walk while fanning eight. Cole has lowered his ERA to 3.00 to go with his 6-3 mark. He has 87 strikeouts, second best to Bieber, and a 0.98 WHIP and .196 batting average against. Cole’s odds to win the Cy Young are +550.
Giolito and Lynn Still in the Mix
The Chicago White Sox have also punched their ticket to the postseason and are battling the Rays and A’s for the best record in the American League. Following Lucas Giolito’s late August no-no against the Pirates, the Chisox have won four of his five starts, but Giolito is 1-1 over that time and his pitching has been far from elite.
He took a no decision in a 5.2 inning stint against the Tigers, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks. He took the loss in a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Twins, surrendering three runs on three hits and three walks in six innings. Since the no hitter, he has given up 11 earned runs in 22.2 innings, raising his ERA by half a run to 3.53. He has a 4-3 record with 86 strikeouts, 1.03 WHIP, and .183 average against. Giolito’s odds for the Cy Young award are +500.
The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, are battling the Red Sox and Royals for the worst mark in the majors, which makes Lance Lynn’s chances to bring home the Cy Young award more difficult on many fronts. Lynn has done his part, posting a 6-2 record in 12 starts, leading the league in starts, innings pitched, and batters faced, and is tied with Bieber in WAR.
Lynn picked up his sixth win in a one-run, seven-inning appearance against Oakland, and then allowed three runs on seven hits in a Texas loss to Anaheim where he took a no decision. Lynn’s odds to win the 2020 AL Cy Young award are +650. He has a 2.53 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP, .184 batting average against, and 84 strikeouts.