After a relatively quiet week, our Cy Young picks remain the same, but other pitchers are knocking on the door.
The Good: Chris Sale (Red Sox) and Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
Sale wasn’t spectacular this week and arguably had is worst start of the season Sunday against Minnesota, where he allowed four runs in six innings, but despite that his ERA sits at 1.92 and he is frustrating batters at an alarming rate. He has 73 strikeouts on the season and has recorded double-digit strikeouts in all but one start this season. Opposing batters are hitting just .169 when he is on the hill. Sale is on pace to strikeout 381 batters this season, just two shy of Nolan Ryan’s record.
Much like Sale, Kershaw wasn’t exception this week either. He allowed three home runs in a pair of starts and walked four batters in Saturday’s start against San Diego, but the rest of the National League failed to take advantage of this opportunity to jump ahead. Kershaw is the favorite, but the margin is small.
Honorable mentions include: Jason Vargas (Royals), James Paxton (Mariners), Max Scherzer (Nationals) and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals).
The Bad: Ervin Santana (Twins) and Jeremy Hellickson (Phillies)
Santana has been a rock atop the Twins rotation, and he started the week with six innings of shutout baseball to drop his ERA to a league-best 0.66, but then Sale and the Red Sox came to town and hit him hard. He surrendered six runs and four balls left the park in six innings – in just five hits allowed. His ERA went up a by more than a run after that start and now sits at 1.72. A traditional fly ball pitcher, Santana may be in trouble as the weather warms up.
Hellickson played like an ace all of April, but then May reared it’s ugly head. The Phillies righty made a pair of starts this week, both of which were his shorted outings of the year. He pitched 8 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs, including five home runs. His control was an issue was well as he walked multiple batters in both starts. Hellickson only surrendered three walks all season leading up to last week.
The Ugly: Brett Anderson (Cubs) and Dylan Covey (White Sox)
Anderson was a disaster for the reigning World Series champions last week, lasing just 1 2/3 innings in two starts. He surrendered 12 runs during that time and watched his ERA rise from 3.54 to 8.18. He was placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain.
For Covey, at least he was consistent, giving up six runs in both of his starts this week across 10 2/3 innings. His 8.28 ERA is the worst in baseball among pitchers who have made at least three starts.