20

The Cy Young

My reaction when I saw Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young? Shock.

But, in hindsight, it shouldn't have been...because any of the three could've won it. Here in St. Louis, we've mainly been exposed to the "it's either Carpenter or Wainwright" thought process so much so that the thought of Lincecum had all but been ruled out. It's kind of like only being exposed to a small group of like-minded individuals all of your life...and then going outside of that little world for the first time and finding out that there's all kinds of different cultures. Because so many of us had the Carpenter or Wainwright Only Theory drilled into our heads, the idea of Lincecum seems wrong...when in reality, it's not. Just like Carpenter wouldn't have been wrong. And, just like Wainwright wouldn't have been wrong.

I knew the Lincecum win would lead to some good old fashioned Midwest-chip-on-your-shoulder psychosis. Here's my personal favorite...this one coming from Bernie's Pressbox at STLToday.com:

"The Mizzou womens soccer team wins the Big 12 regular season, and get dissed at NCAA
Tournament time.

Danario Alexander isn't on the Biletnikoff Award finalists list, but a Syracuse player who quit school is.

Of the top 2 pitchers in the state, neither wins the Cy Young. (KC doesn't count)

There's a conspiracy, and the Governor and State Patrol need to investigate."

Quality shit there, brother.

Here's a thought...and I believe this to be true: If Adam Wainwright gets his 20th win on Friday October 2nd---in a game the Cardinals had a 6-0 lead through five innings---Wainwright's got 20 wins...and the 2009 Cy Young.

The bottom line on this thing is that it's subjective. Even amongst Cardinal fans, you couldn't get a clear cut answer. Some said Wainwright. Some said Carpenter. Hell, I watched 90% of the games this year, and I wasn't sure who I felt should win. Some voters value wins. Some voters value ERA. Some voters value strikeouts. There's no clear cut criteria outside of selecting "the most outstanding pitcher."

Who would I have given it to? I would've gone with Carpenter. I, personally, thought he was the most dominating pitcher in the National League this year. But, you know what? I didn't see more than two Tim Lincecum starts. So, I can sit there and break it down with stats...and then it just comes down to which stat---if all things seem to be about equal---that you give the most credence to. And, my answer to that is ERA. Carpenter had the best ERA of the three. But, some go innings pitched and wings...and that's how Wainwright got the most first place votes. And, then others go strikeouts and take into account other mathematical formulas Will Hunting couldn't crack, and that's how you got Tim Lincecum as your 2009 Cy Young Award.

Speaking of which...



This Keith Law Guy

Who is Keith Law?

He's a random on ESPN who has a personality so abrasive it makes me look like Tom Hanks on an eight ball.

And, he knows baseball so well that he didn't put Chris Carpenter in his top three for the 2009 Cy Young. Law went with:

1. Tim Lincecum

2. Javier Vasquez

3. Adam Wainwright

His rationale...as if you mere mortals could possibly understand it? Here you go from his blog on ESPN.com:

"Lincecum was a no-brainer, and it's disappointing to see that a majority of voters on the award whiffed on the easiest part of the three-part question. Lincecum led the NL in FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and WAR (Wins Above Replacement), both of which normalize a pitcher's stats to account for the help he received from his defense, and he led both categories by wide margins. He also led the NL in VORP, which adjusts for park but not for defense, by a narrow margin. I understand that many voters are uncomfortable with these advanced stats, but Lincecum also finished second in the NL in (unadjusted) ERA, but threw 36 more innings than the guy in front of him, Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter's innings total was the main reason he ended up off my ballot. He pitched extremely well when on the mound, but not well enough to close the value gap between him and the three pitchers I listed, each of whom threw at least 27 innings more than Carpenter. Both Carpenter and Wainwright received significant help from their defense, while neither Lincecum nor Vazquez could say the same."


For the record, Keith Law is the same guy we had on the air in 2006 right after the Cardinals won the World Series and got into an argument with The Cat when he insisted that the Cardinals were not a good team.

Yes.

That's right.

He said the World Champions were not a good team.

As I said earlier, you fucking people can't possibly begin to understand baseball the way someone sooooo much smarter than you like Keith Law sees it.

I would like to visit Keith Law's bizarro-world sometime. Perhaps Lexington Steele and I could engage in some kind of private traceoff, and I'd edge him out...which is probably how Javier Vasquez feels when he sees he edged out Wainwright on Law's ballot.



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Me vs. Producer Joe: Week 12


We're hitting the stretch run, and Producer Joe and I are battling for supremacy. I went 3-2 last week while Producer Joe went 2-3, and that gives me a 26-23 record vs. Producer Joe's 25-24. Quite the battle.

Before we unveil our insideSTL.com picks, I have to call attention to myself---shocking---and my picks on the radio, because somehow, my record on The ITD Morning After is 39-21. That's a 65% record against the spread, which is pretty damn unheard of.

I want to make it clear---crystal---that I have no fucking clue about picking games...except this: if there's a game where the spread looks too good to be true, I assure you, it is. Take a look at the Redskins last week. They're only a three point underdog to 6-2 Denver. What happens? The Redskins not only cover...but they win.

I don't know how this shit seems to happen 90% of the time, but it does...and when there's a game EVERYONE is betting on the same team, it sure as hell seems that the other team covers. If that didn't happen, bookies and sports books wouldn't exist.

I'd love to finish with a 70% winning percentage on the radio. That would be the tits. But, the super sweet thing is I've bet on one game this year...and that was just because I was hanging out in a sports book in Las Vegas. It was the lovely pick of Missouri against Texas.

That reminds me. My other rule. Don't bet with your heart.

Now...on to Week 12:


Iowa State @ Mizzou -14

Producer Joe: Back at it this week after a disappointing 2-3 week that brings my overall record to 25-24, just a game over .500 but only a game back of McKernan.  I managed to win both of my college games last weekend but blanked on the NFL, which is about par for the course on every weekend that I am placing real NFL bets as well.  I like Mizzou again this week.  Two touchdowns seems to be a big number for an inconsistent team but Iowa State sucks just like Baylor and just like K-State suck.  I have faith in Pinkel for some reason and will lay a couple of TD's on Senior Day at Faurot. Missouri -14

McKernan: I fear Iowa State is a bad match-up for Missouri's spread offense. I actually think the Cyclones may be the best team Missouri has faced since Texas. Hopefully, I'm wrong...but I'm going with Iowa State +14.



Oklahoma -6.5 @ Texas Tech


Producer Joe: There is not one match-up of Top 25 teams this week in CFB so we are going with this game because it was the first one I saw when scrolling through college games.  Last season I got really healthy on this match-up, like really healthy. I don't quite feel that good this year, but Oklahoma is still a good football team in my opinion. I don't think anyone would have a problem with me saying that they would have won the Big 12 North this season at least.  All it takes for them to cover on Saturday is a touchdown and this game might be over by halftime again in 2010, plus Bob Stoops doesn't rant about his team having "fat little girlfriends".  The Sooners will be too much for Mike Leach this weekend. Oklahoma -6.5

McKernan: I really am not sure on this one. So, if it's a toss up, I go against Producer Joe. Texas Tech +6.5


Cardinals -9 @ Rams

Producer Joe: I am not sure that "let down game" is the proper term to use for a team that is 1-8, but after having a chance to win in the final minutes last weekend it is the best I could come up with based on the fact that I have a limited vocabulary. 
The thing about this game is that I want to watch it, but not badly enough to actually buy tickets to go to the Dome to do so, and it looks like that might be the only way that the people of St. Louis will be able to see Kurt throw for 350+ yards on the Rams this week. The only way this isn't at 17+ point blow out is if SJ39 can run for 100+ and keep the clock moving for the Rams, but I have a bad feeling this one gets away early and the Rams are forced to rely on Bulger throwing for two and a half quarters to try and cut into a lead. If that is the case expect the worst.  Fly with the Football Cardinals this weekend. Cardinals -9

McKernan: My inclination was to go with the Cardinals on this one, which means I have to take the Rams. Rams +9



Colts -1 @ Ravens

Producer Joe: Line screams take the Ravens.  I know before even sending this to Tim that he is going to take the Ravens because it seems to good to be true for a team that is undefeated at 9-0 to only be laying a point against a team that is 5-4.  The Ravens are coming off a short week after playing in the worst MNF game that I can remember, and a game in which they were held scoreless in 3 of the 4 quarters.  That type of offense isn't going to get it done against the Colts this week.  Take Manning. Colts -1

McKernan: One of the problems with Producer Joe is his alcohol tolerance. Another problem is his desire for manhole. And, one final problem is that he's trying to get into my head. Lesson: never try and get inside a lopsided head. I don't think this game is too good to be true...at all. It's actually a tough pick. I think many people would like the Ravens in this one. I'm torn on it. I'm currently trying to tap into my Miss Cleo-like skills. Just got the feeling. Colts -1



Lock of the Week

Producer Joe: UCONN @ Notre Dame -6
A drop in the bucket, but Notre Dame will win this game by more than they deserve.  The Fatass will try and run it up and make people forget that he has the same winning percentage (and exact same record) going into this game as Ty Willingham & Bob Davie were fired with at Notre Dame.
Enjoy it this week Charlie because you are going to be embarrassed next week at Stanford.  Irish win and roll it up this week against a UCONN team that isn't as bad as they will be made to look on Saturday. Notre Dame -6

McKernan: Redskins @ Cowboys -11
Beware. I don't love a game like I loved the Redskins last week. I was thinking Saints...and I probably should take that one. You know what...fuck it. I have to stick with the feeling. The feeling is what leads me to NFL handicapping glory.

McKernan: Lock (Remix) Saints -11.5 @ Bucs
Tampa sucks. Obv. New Orleans will respond to the little wake-up call in St. Louis. This will be ugly, and if you have any Saints on your fantasy team, you'll fatten up like Carnie Wilson after her Playboy shoot. Saints -11.5



Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at
tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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aharder23
# aharder23
Friday, November 20, 2009 5:13 AM
Goodie, I get to start off the "we got screwed" posts.

Apparently Keith Law was so focused on the all-important VORP stat, that he didn't realize that Lincecum went 1-3 with a 3.67 ERA in September for the Giants, who BTW, were actually in the race until the last week or so of the season. All Wainwright & Carp did was deal the entire month, and drug their team across the finish line, when the offense quit producing.

Oh well, just looking forward to seeing Pujols left off someone's ballot, because of the Holliday & DeRosa tade. I'll start my "we got screwed" post for that now.
afanger
# afanger
Friday, November 20, 2009 8:31 AM
the award is subjective, and all 3 guys can be made arguements for. if anyone is going to vote on this award, it shouldn't be a bunch of writers with assinine opinions. maybe let HOFers vote?? if you say let players or managers vote, they will also have a bias.....

kieth law is an idiot, please try to get him on your show and challenge him on something, great radio....

one of, if not the most overrated stat in sports has to be won/loss record for a pitcher. this stat is based on something the pitcher has almost NO control over. when you can pitch a no hitter, and take a loss, something is wrong with the stat. when 19 or 20 wins makes a difference in who wins the cy young, something is wrong. when you can pitch horrible, and get a win, something is wrong. pitchers should be judged on innings pitched and earned runs, with k/bb ratio as part of the discussion and possibly performance in big games or down the stretch. bottom line, w/l record for pitchers is just plain stupid. i would support a mathmatical system to pick cy young, mvp, all star, etc.... assuming it is based on the proper criteria.
pbando
# pbando
Friday, November 20, 2009 9:03 AM
Tim Lincecum is an amazing pitcher. Just watch him pitch! Nobody should get pissed over this. Keith Law is a douchebag.
bgdog86
# bgdog86
Friday, November 20, 2009 9:21 AM
Aharder23,

Lets also throw in the 1 October start for all 3 pitchers. Waino and Carp didn't deal the entire month either. Both had their worst start of the year in September. I'd also like to add the Cardinals were terrible after September 11th, just terrible. Say what you want about the Giants not making the playoffs, but they won nearly 90 games and played in a division with 2 90 game winners, while the Cardinals played in the worst division in baseball. Lets go ahead and compare numbers in September and their 1 October start for each. Everyone just wants to talk about Lincecum.

Lincecum 2-3 3.38 ERA
Waino 3-1 3.83 ERA
Carp 4-1 2.41 ERA

Lincecum didn't even have the worst final month of the 3 yet everyone wants to post his numbers. The last time I looked, the Cy Young wasn't based on one month of the season. Its the whole body of work. I think all 3 are well deserving candidates if they won. The Cardinal boys getting screwed is assanine though.
Cobra Kai
# Cobra Kai
Friday, November 20, 2009 11:16 AM
I'm so sick of all of these 'so-called' experts trying to prove how smart they are. Keith Law is an ignorant ass, plain and simple.

He has it out for St. Louis, for some reason. That's fine if you are voting for Lincecum, but placing Vasquez ahead of both Carpenter and Wainwright is atrocious.

Tim, please get this guy on the radio again and let him have it. He doesn't deserve to let this slide. Lincecum's performance in the 2nd half was not good at all. He had to win his last start just to get to .500 in the 2nd half... his team was in the hunt for a playoff spot, and Lincecum's performance did little to help them lock down a playoff spot.

I do agree with what you said about Waino's last start. I had a feeling that 6-0 blown lead would somehow come back and haunt him.... but knowing Law, even with 20 wins, he still wouldn't have voted him #1.
Tim McKernan
# Tim McKernan
Friday, November 20, 2009 2:20 PM
Cobra Kai,

Keith Law refuses to come on our show after we discussed his comments about saying the Cardinals were not a good team after they won the World Series in 2006.

Tim
bgdog86
# bgdog86
Friday, November 20, 2009 4:20 PM
Cobra Kai,

Keith Law is a douche. I don't disagree with that.

You wanted to elude on the fact that Lincecum was only .500 after the All-Star break. Well yeah, he went 5-5, but guess what......he only had a 2.67 ERA. Take into account his team didn't have the offense the Cardinals did, so he had less run support. Also, he played in a division with 2 90+ win playoff teams. The Cardinals played in the worst division in baseball. You'd think a 2.67 ERA in his 14 starts after the break would yield him a much better W/L record.
Carp and Waino both had better 2nd halfs of the season, but the 2nd half is a smaller sample size and to top it off its a full season award, not the 2nd half of the season award. You can plead the case for either of the 3 guys.
hmw
# hmw
Friday, November 20, 2009 4:59 PM
i'd much rather have the voters look at 20 different stats than 3.

here are lincecum's sept/oct starts, using basic stats:

7 IP, 2 ER
7 IP, 1 ER
4 IP, 5 ER
7 IP, 2 ER
7 IP, 2 ER

but if a 2-3 record takes precedence over the actual performance...well, i'm wasting my breath. it's pretty pointless to debate when people bring up win/loss at all. now i'm not an expert on FIP, nor could i tell you how WAR is calculated, but it only takes a few seconds to look up these stats, and understand their usefulness.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2009&month=0

i used to be a win/loss guy. it just takes a little effort; like anything else, educate yourselves a little bit and you'll be able to make a stronger case for what you believe.

as for law - he made a strong case for voting the way he did. i'm actually surprised vazquez didn't get a vote from anyone else. he was definitely one of the top SP's in the NL this year.

me personally, i would have gone with carp, lincecum, and wainwright. but guys like vazquez, haren, even josh johnson weren't as distant as some people make them out to be.

and i need to stop reading the STL today message boards...starting...now.
bgdog86
# bgdog86
Friday, November 20, 2009 9:19 PM
That 4 IP start was not good. What people forget though is that is the start that Lincecum left with back spasms, and he then had to skp a start. Beyond that he pitched pretty damn good with all of them being quality starts.

Vasquez was overlooked for one reason.....his W/L record. He had the best September of the top 3 in ERA and I think he was tied with Carp for W/L. If Vasquez would have had a 18-8 season with all his other stats, he would have gotten quite a few more votes.

Anyone that takes the Cardinal blinders off and looks at the body of work of all 3 and actually watched all 3 pitch all season can say that all 3 would have been worthy candidates. My winner would have been Wainwright, but I think Carp and Lincecum were on par also.
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