After two weeks, a new favorite has emerged in the American League for the Cy Young, but can he keep it up for a full season?
The Good: James Paxton (Mariners) and Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
Syndergaard continued to dominate in Week 2. “Thor” has pitched 19 innings across three starts and struck out 20 batters, but what is even more impressive is that he hasn’t allowed a single walk. He has allowed just two earned runs on the year, giving him a 0.95 ERA and his 0.842 WHIP ranks sixth in the National League.
While last week’s AL leader, Chris Sale, continued to dominate, he was overshadowed by Paxton. Paxton hasn’t allowed a run all season and has only surrendered eight hits and four walks across 21 frames this year, giving him a 0.571 WHIP, second in the AL. The emergence of Paxton is giving the Mariners a scary 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with him and Felix Hernandez.
This week’s honorable mentions include Chris Sale (Red Sox), Ervin Santana (Twins), Mike Leake (Cardinals) and Jon Lester (Cubs).
The Bad: Justin Verlander (Tigers) and Bronson Arroyo (Reds)
Verlander started the week by outdueling Sale in a thrilling Monday afternoon game, but was rocked on Saturday against Cleveland, giving up a career-high nine earned runs and dealt with rumors that he was tipping his pitches after the game. A change in his routine could be seen by his next start.
For a decade, Arroyo was one of the most reliable pitchers in baseball, never making it on the disabled list until 2014, when he was 36, when he was shutdown midseason to undergo Tommy John surgery. In his first MLB action since the surgery, he has not performed well, getting walloped for a 9.90 ERA and allowing four home runs. At age 40, the Reds may not have much patience as it looks like his tank is empty.
The Ugly: Clay Buccholz (Phillies) and Josh Tomlin (Indians)
It only took two starts for Buccholz to meltdown in Philadelphia. He was tagged for six runs in just 2 1/3 innings of action before being removed. It was revealed after the game that he has a partial tear in the flexor-pronator mass of his right (throwing arm). He could be shut down for a long period of time.
Tomlin, on the other hand, has started two games and has been abysmal for the reigning AL Champions. He has allowed 13 earned runs across two starts, lasting just 6 1/3 innings. His 18.47 ERA is the worst in baseball among pitchers who have started more than one game.