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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Writers get it wrong again

Just because foolishness has a well established history, does not make it any less wrong.

But don’t tell that to the baseball writers who vote for the Cy Young award.

The award that has never been given to anyone with less than 16 wins, and often goes to the pitcher with the most Ws, not the best pitcher in a given season.

The recipients of the booby prize this season were Bartolo Colon in the AL and Chris Carpenter in the NL.

Both won the award because of things that had little to do with their actual talent and a lot to do with wrong priorities

Let’s begin with the most obviously flawed choice – Colon, the Angels first 20 game winner since 1974.

And while he did have five more victories than the player that should have won, Johan Santana , he fell short in all the actually important categories.

Santana had an ERA 60 points better, a BAA 40 points better, 81 more strikeouts, pitched more innings and got 1.32 less runs per game than did Colon.

It is not Santana’s fault that he was on a team with an inferior offense and an inferior bullpen. Those shouldn’t come into account in the debate over the best pitcher of the year.

That’s right, best pitcher, not winningest pitcher. Of course some people seem to forget that is what the award is about.

Which brings us to the slightly more complicated matter of St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter beating out Roger Clemens for the NL Cy Young.

Carpenter had more wins than Clemens, 21 to 13, and more complete games and more shutouts.

Things like complete games and shutouts shouldn’t be totally discounted, but one has to realize just how anemic the offense in Houston was, and how that played into Clemens’ numbers.

Because Clemens pitched in such close games he was often pulled for a pinch hitter in the latter stages of a game (remember the pitcher bats in the National League).

According to a baseball blog by Jeff J. Snider Clemens was pulled in the seventh inning or later of close games (2 runs or fewer) 12 times.

It is reasonable to assume that if his team had built a comfortable lead he could have finished out a number of those games.

And a look at other categories isn’t even close.

Clemens’ ERA was almost one full run lower than Carpenters’ and his batting average against was an anemic .198 compared to Carpenters’ .231.

Clemens is 43-years-old and posted the best ERA for a pitcher in 10 years, all while pitching in one of the friendliest hitters parks in baseball.

But of course Clemens’ didn’t win close to 20 games so he didn’t pass muster.

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