Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baseball In The Daytime: 8-23-07

Although we won't go as deep into it as we did with the AL yesterday, after the game schedule we will break down the National League Cy Young race.

Your leadoff game is the latest installment of the fierce battle for the AL Central crown. The Cleveland Indians wrap up their series in Detroit by sending Jake Westbrook up against Nate Robertson at 11:05 Mountain. After beating up on the struggling Justin Verlander yesterday, the Tribe holds a game and a half lead in the division with Minnesota lingering six and a half back. Catch all the fun on XM 182 and DTV 734.

Also at eleven, the Dodgers and the Phillies play their last game of the year. I can say that with finality, as there's no way either of these teams make the playoffs (Playoffs?) as anything but the wild card. The attendance is expected to be a little low at Citizens Bank today, as many Phillies fans offed themselves in the wake of Cole Hamels' DL designation yesterday. Cheer up, losers! Shane Victorino, the Flyin' Hawaiian, is back! And if he can pitch, you'll be just fine.

Actually, Philly is, in fact, fucked hard. Making his first major start today is some kid named Fabio Castro, while the Dodgers have selected Chad Billingsley. Your channels are XM 189 and DTV 735.

From dangerous downtown Denver, the Pirates and Rockies have scheduled a getaway game at 1:05 on XM 186 (no TV). Paul Maholm, whose last name is pronounced with a soft O and three syllables, toes the slab opposite fireballing phenom Franklin Morales. If Colorado doesn't make a run soon they're in danger of blowing both their playoff chances and any shot at the franchise win record (83 in both '96 and '97).

Finally we have another installment in the long Cubs-Giants rivalry. These two teams have been playing each other since 1883, when Julio Franco was still playing shortstop. Today's contest sees Big Z take on Matt Cain at 1:35 on XM 188 and DTV 736.

And speaking of Big Z, he was ridiculed back in spring training for predicting that he'd win this year's Cy Young award. Although he's backtracked considerably from his ridiculously good midseason play, he had a shot at fulfilling that prophecy for part of the season. I currently have him fourth in the race, ahead of the following fellows:

T11. John Maine and Orlando Hernandez. El Duque's stats are actually pretty awesome. He's third in WHIP and second in BAA with a silly .195.
10. Roy Oswalt
T8. Tim Hudson and John Smoltz. Hudson leads the league in wins with 15 but has hardly been dominant. Smoltz is getting up there in age but can still bring it, as his 3.05 ERA suggests.
7. Jeff Francis. Still the only Francis in sports not to have the "Franchise" nickname, the ace of the Rockies deserves a spot in the top 10. Because I said so.
6. Brad Penny. A big fat hairy disgusting pig who gets unhittable for long stretches. Also 14-3 with a 2.59.
5. Chris Young. Looks like he's headed to the DL with a bad back, the bane of 6-10 pitchers. But he leads the universe with a 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and .184 BAA. It's hard to come up with a reason that he's only won nine games, other than the Padres kind of stink.
4. The aforementioned Big Z.

3. Cole Hamels. This injury will cause him to fall in the final voting, but this kid has absolutely excelled this season. Second in wins, fourth in WHIP, fourth in strikeouts, with a tasty 156/39 K/BB ratio, Hamels will be a lethal force for years to come. Plus he's dreamy.

2. Brandon Webb. Last year's Cy winner could still repeat, but he did give up a run last night. That halted his scoreless-innings streak at 42, and raised his ERA to 2.63. What a jackass. He is still in the top ten in every stat category, and the fact that the D'Backs are probably going to the playoffs with a criminally young roster has to count for something.

1. Jake Peavy. I searched all over the YourHubs this morning, trying to figure out if Peavy had won the Cy Young in the past. It turns out he's never received a single vote for the award, even though he's a two-time All-Star who led the league in ERA in '04 and in strikeouts in '05. That, my friends, is a joke. Voters can make amends this season, as there's absolutely nothing precluding Peavy from taking the award. He is, hands down, the NL's finest arm.