Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester Earning Cy Young Buzz From Bettors After Early-Season Success

Clay Buchholz, Shane VictorinoNo pitcher has repeated as the American League Cy Young winner since the Red Sox’ Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000. It doesn’t appear that reigning winner David Price will do so this year, either.

The Tampa Bay lefty is 1-3 with a 6.20 ERA for the struggling Rays and is now not even a current betting option at Bovada to win the award.

Your new favorite is Clay Buchholz at 11-4. He was named the American League’s pitcher of the month for April. Buchholz led the AL in wins and ERA entering Monday’s start against the Twins. According to ESPN’s stats and information, Buchholz’s cutter has moved horizontally an average 3.2 inches this season, an inch and a half more than last season (1.8).

Buchholz’s top competition as of now is Texas’ Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.56), who is 13-4. The Japanese second-year player dominated the Sox as the Rangers finished off a sweep Sunday. Darvish struck out a season-high 14, throwing a whopping 127 pitches. He leads the majors by a wide margin with 72 strikeouts. Batters have swung and missed at 40.7 percent of his pitches this season, which is also tops in baseball.

Detroit’s Justin Verlander (4-2, 1.55), the 2011 Cy Young winner and AL MVP, is the 5-1 third-favorite. He nearly threw his third career no-hitter on Sunday, keeping the Astros without one until the seventh inning. He has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one start so far.

The Sox’s Jon Lester (4-0, 3.30) is at 15-1. He has been knocked around a bit in his past three starts, allowing 12 runs and four homers over 17.2 innings to see his ERA rise from 1.73. The last time lefties won back-to-back Cy Young Awards was in 2007 and 2008 when Cleveland’s CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee did so, respectively.

The longest shot on the board is Toronto’s R.A. Dickey at 100-1. He became the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award last season while with the New York Mets. Dickey’s transition to the American League hasn’t gone well as he is 2-5 with a 5.36 ERA and is indicative of the Blue Jays’ struggles as a whole.

The lone reliever on the AL board is Baltimore closer Jim Johnson at 33-1. No reliever has won the AL Cy Young Award since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1992.

The National League favorite at 3-1 is Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. He has a 1.66 ERA and a WHIP of 0.90 but is just 3-2 because of lousy run support. Kershaw, the 2011 Cy Young winner in the NL, was the favorite in the spring as well. Many believe he will soon become the first pitcher to sign a contract worth at least $200 million. Barring a contract extension, he will become a free agent after the 2014 season.

Washington’s Stephen Strasburg was also a spring favorite but is now down to 12-1. Strasburg (1-4, 3.45) hasn’t won since Opening Day. His teammate, Jordan Zimmermann, is the 5-1 second-favorite to Kershaw. Zimmermann leads the majors with a 0.75 WHIP and is 5-1 with a 1.64 ERA.

This post is presented by Bovada.

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