Well, Cliff Lee did pretty much everything that the Rangers were hoping for last night in his start against the Angels. 8 1/3 innings pitched, 2 earned runs, 4 strikeouts and the victory to help extend their division lead to 6 games. At this point, the Cy Young award for the American League is his to lose. He is now 9-4, with a 2.56 ERA, and a 0.92 WHIP to go with his 101 strikeouts.
The pitcher on the other side of that win yesterday, Jered Weaver, may have something to say about the award as well. Not a stunning start, he did strike out 5 over 6 innings, but required 118 pitches to get through them. He also has 9 wins on the season, and a 3.22 ERA, but unfortunately is unlikely to be pitching in the postseason at this point.
On the National League side, Josh Johnson has pitched himself into the lead for the Cy Young award at this point. He struck out 11 over 6 1/3 innings of 1 run ball yesterday, but got a no-decision after the Rockies were able to rally to tie the game after he left. He now has a 1.62 ERA.
Adam Wainwright is also right in the middle of this race, and threw 6 shutout innings yesterday against the Phillies. He struck out 6, and is now sporting an ERA of 1.94 to go with his 14 wins so far. No win yesterday, but I think we could be looking at another Cy Young split vote similar to last year's NL award.
Nyjer Morgan went 2 for 4 yesterday for the Nationals and stole 3 bases as well. He now has 24 on the season, and has probably been forgotten in a lot of leagues after getting off to a slow start. He could definitely steal enough bases to make serious movement in your league if you can take the potential hit in batting average.
I keep trying to say that the wheels are going to fall off for Tim Hudson, and then he goes out and has another great start. 7 shutout innings, 4 strikeouts, only 1 walk and the victory. This is shaping up more and more to be a really great season for Hudson, regardless of whether or not it may be a fluke.
I also keep waiting for Delmon Young to falter this year, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen either. He went 2 for 4 yesterday with 3 runs batted in. He's now hitting .316 with 70 runs batted in.
From the same game, Carl Pavano is really helping to lead the Twins' rotation with Francisco Liriano at this point. He threw another shutout yesterday, which was his 4th complete game of the season. Sorry Yankee fans.
I can't really seem to make up my mind whether or not Alex Rodriguez will be a top 10 pick next season. He hit his 599th career homerun last night, and drove in 4 runs. He's only hitting .275 on the season, but has 16 homeruns and 78 runs batted in. If he could hit over .300 for an extended period of time I'd be a lot more inclined to do it.
John Axford recorded his 13th save of the season last night, a long one (1 2/3 innings), but no baserunners allowed in spite of that. When Trevor Hoffman lost the job earlier in the season, I thought that by now he would have it back by now. But unless the Brewers move Axford at this point I don't think he'll get the job back at all, which is a little sad as it means he's unlikely to get to 600 saves for his career.
Matt Cain isn't getting the same recognition as some of the other pitchers in the National League, but he's also having a pretty good season in his own right. He struck out 9 over 8 shutout innings yesterday against the Diamondbacks and recorded his 8th victory of the season. He now has a 3.10 ERA, and should have less losses than he currently does based on the way he's pitched.
John Lackey took a no-hitter into the 8th inning yesterday, only to watch the bullpen cough up the entirety of a 5 run 9th inning lead. Lackey only allowed 2 hits and an unearned run yesterday. Granted it is the Mariners, but it's good to see him have a good start.