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National League Cy Young winner still remains unclear

Posted September. 20, 2019 08:19,   

Updated September. 20, 2019 08:39


Unlike the American League where Houston Astros’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander is leading the pack alone in the Cy Young competition, the prospect still remains foggy in the National League.

Until quite recently, the competition in the NL was three-pronged among Ryu Hyun-jin, the Korean Monster of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. With the season approaching the homestretch, however, the rivalry is becoming something of a “death match” where a single mistake can cost each an entire chance to jockey for the title reserved for the best pitcher of each league.

It appears Scherzer might become the first to forfeit the race. Starting the game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, Scherzer recorded his seventh loss this season (10 wins), with seven hits (two homers), 11 strikeouts, and five runs during six and 2/3 innings.

Having managed to concede only two runs until the second out of the seventh inning, Scherzer consecutively allowed a two base hit and a single hit, but he was substituted after designated Cardinals’ pinch hitter Matt Wieters smashed a two-run homer. In a poll held a day before, Scherzer received 23 first-place votes from 42, and was subsequently ranked first with a total 165 points, but after the Thursday game, he has effectively lost the chance to compete for Cy Young award as he unusually suffered a loss, which caused his ERA to soar to 2.81. “It spoiled what had been one of Scherzer’s best outings in months, as he finished with 11 strikeouts and no walks,“ said MLB.com.

This narrows down the competition to that of Ryu and deGrom. As of Thursday, Ryu is faring better than deGrom in terms of ERA (2.35) and the number of wins (12). DeGrom has only yet to achieve a two-digit win (9 wins), and his ERA, at 2.61, is dwarfed by Ryu’s.

But it doesn’t necessarily give Ryu a competitive edge. Firing 160kmph fastballs, deGrom threw 190 innings (fifth in the NL), which will likely break the mark of 200 with ease, and his strikeout, at 239, is on the top of the league, which makes him a more suitable Cy Young winner. Except for his ERA, Ryu’s other statistics are far from impressive, with the number of innings merely standing at 168 and 2/3 innings (19th) and his strikeout at 148 (25th).

On September 15, the two rivals went head to head where both kept a clean sheet over seven innings. At the current pace of rotation, Ryu and deGrom will be able to make two more outings. And the two games will be the last opportunity to prove their Cy Young candidacy.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com