Seattle’s Hernandez Grabs Cy Young Award


Jul 20, 2009

Seattle's Hernandez Grabs Cy Young Award It was a quick week in Major League Baseball, but news was made nonetheless.

For Red Sox pitchers Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz, there was a reversal of fortune. Buchholz, who has been tearing up Triple-A all season, finally got the nod from the Red Sox and picked up a win in his first start of the season.

Wakefield earned an invite to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, which began in 1992, but the knuckler warmed the bullpen bench in the American League’s 4-3 win as AL manager Joe Maddon failed to call upon the Sox icon.

“Yeah, I'd like to have pitched, but it's an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life,” Wakefield told the Boston Herald. “I'll cherish it forever. It's just awesome being in this clubhouse with the greatest players in the world and being able to partake in my first All-Star Game at 42 years old. It's pretty cool.”

Buchholz grabbed his first major league victory since May 2, 2008, after going winless in 10 straight pitching appearances. The righty went 5 2/3 innings in Toronto, allowing just four hits and one run as the Red Sox took down the Blue Jays 4-1. Although he was sent back to Pawtucket following the outing (as expected), Buchholz proved that he’s well on his way to returning to his 2007 form when he went 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts.

"I knew the situation before I came up," Buchholz told "I'm just thankful for the opportunity to be here and play with these guys again. The starting rotation they have here right now is pretty unbelievable. It is what it is. It's not my timetable. I know where I want to be, and this is definitely it, but I'll bide some more time, go back to Pawtucket, and maybe get a little bit of time off –  and when my next start comes, try to get better."

Playoff picture
AL East: Boston Red Sox (55-36)
AL Central: Detroit Tigers (48-42)
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (52-38)
AL Wild Card: New York Yankees (54-37)

Breakdown:  Entering the week, the Red Sox hold a one-game lead over the Yankees, while the AL Central is jammed at the top with just two games separating the Tigers, White Sox and Twins for first place. The Angels remain on top in the West with a three-game lead over the pesky Rangers, and the Mariners continue to hang around at just four games out.

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies (51-38)
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals (51-43)
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers (58-34)
AL Wild Card: San Francisco Giants (50-41)

Breakdown: The reigning world champion Phillies are pulling away in the East with a nice 6 1/2-game cushion over the second-place Braves. In perhaps the most competitive division in baseball, the NL Central, the Cards hold a two-game lead over the Cubs, who have both the Brewers (three games out) and Astros (four games out) hot on their heels. The league’s biggest gap comes out West, where the Dodgers own a commanding 7 1/2-game lead over the Giants, who currently own the NL wild card with a 50-41 record.

American League: Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

The Twins’ first baseman has been pacing the Twinkies all year long and kept Minnesota’s offense afloat while Joe Mauer was out with an injury at the beginning of the season. Morneau is among the AL leaders in batting average (.313), OPS (.965) and RBIs (71), home runs (21) and slugging percentage (.571).

National League: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Despite players’ best efforts, it’s nearly impossible to keep pace with Pujols this season. The Cardinals’ first baseman is on pace to shatter personal career highs, and if he can catch up with Florida’s Hanley Ramirez in batting average and fend off Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder in the RBI department, the All-Star slugger — who is trouncing mankind in homers — may very well capture the triple crown. Entering the week, The Machine is hitting .333 (fourth in MLB, second in NL), and leads the major leagues in RBIs (90), runs (76), homers (34), OPS (1.186), slugging (.730) and games (93).

Cy Young
American League: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

A long shot for the award, but Hernandez certainly deserves some hype. The Seattle slinger has a 10-3 record with a 2.51 ERA – the second-lowest in the AL. The righty is also among the league leaders in innings pitched with 132 2/3 while his 129 strikeouts are good for fourth in the league.

National League: Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs’ ace has been hotter than the Arizona sun, winning four straight starts. Haren (10-5) hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a game since May 23 and has allowed just three in his last 30 innings. The 6-foot-5 righty has a major league-best 1.96 ERA to go with 137 strikeouts — second-most among NL hurlers.

Rookie of the Year
American League: Matt Palmer, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Matt Palmer experiment continues to be a success as the starter-turned-reliever is 7-1 in his first year as a major league hurler. In his last seven appearances, Palmer has allowed just three runs over 10 1/3 innings.

National League: Colby Rasmus, St. Louis Cardinals
The All-Star break may have tripped up an impressive offensive run for the St. Louis center fielder, but the 22-year-old remains in the everyday lineup for Tony La Russa’s first-place Cards. Rasmus has 11 homers and 34 RBIs to go with a .270 batting average.

Weekly wonders
American League: Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox

The Pale Hoser’s veteran DH went 5-for-10 (.500 BA) with two homers, three runs and seven RBIs last week and is in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak.

National League: Yunel Escobar, Atlanta Braves

The shortstop went 7-for-14 (.500) with two homers, four runs scored and an MLB-high eight RBIs last week for the Braves, who won three of four games.

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