Two of the game's best — and winningest — pitchers were on display Tuesday night when CC Sabathia and David Price toed the rubber for the Yankees and Rays, respectively. As has been the case for much of the season, both dominated.
First, there was Sabathia. The workhorse continues to be the rock and the only real sure thing the Yankees have on the mound. After another Herculean performance to finally get the Yankees into the dance (8 1/3 innings, one earned), Sabathia is now 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA.
Price was equally as dominant Tuesday night and now has a 19-6 record with a 2.73 ERA.
Neck-and-neck race for Cy Young, right? Wrong.
Enter Felix Hernandez. The young righty is arguably the best pitcher in the game, save for maybe Roy Halladay. And unlike Halladay, who would have won 20 games in his sleep this season on a good Phillies team, King Felix is buried in the obscurity of the Pacific Northwest playing for the lowly Mariners.
He only has 13 wins. He was also on the mound Tuesday picking up a rare win that puts him only a game above .500. Despite that, Felix Hernandez should win the AL Cy Young award. He's been that good.
You just have to dig a little deeper than overall wins and losses. His ERA is a cool 2.27, now the best in baseball.
There's no question the 12 losses are an alarming amount, but think about this. When Hernandez has gone seven innings and given up three earned runs or less, his record is only 11-6. That means half of his losses came when he pitched very well. Not only that — poor run support has given him six no-decisions.
Conversely, Price is 11-3 with three no-decisions and Sabathia is 15-3 with only three no-decisions as well when going seven innings and giving up three earned or less.
Hernandez has both Sabathia and Price beat in strikeouts and innings pitched, and it's not even really close.
And if you think the pressure of pitching in pennant races earns Sabathia and Price points, look at Hernandez's numbers against 2010 playoff teams. His record isn't great, obviously, at 9-4. But his ERA is 2.45, something that's been aided by an otherworldly 3-0 record with a 0.35 ERA and two shutouts against the Yankees — the same Yankees that are widely accepted as having baseball's best offense.
The numbers don't lie — well, except for maybe win-loss record. The Cy Young award should go to the best pitcher in the league, not the best pitcher on the best team. And the best pitcher in baseball this year has been Felix Hernandez.