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American League Cy Young: Verlander, CC or Weaver?


-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

No one should envy the American League Cy Young voters this year.

Last night, Jered Weaver, CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander all took the mound and all led their teams to victory.

Weaver went seven innings in Cleveland to win his fifth straight start. Sabathia took a perfect game into the seventh in his Major League-leading 15th win of the season. He struck out a career-high 14 against the Mariners. And Justin Verlander won his third consecutive road start, pitching eight innings and striking out seven against the AL Central rival White Sox.

These three have pitched more innings and won more games than anyone in the majors – and have more strikeouts than any other pitcher in the American League (Clayton Kershaw leads MLB with 173 Ks). Weaver leads the majors with a 1.79 ERA, Verlander is third in all of baseball with a 2.34 ERA, and Sabathia is fifth in the AL with a 2.56 mark.

Sabathia (15-5, 156 K) has led the Yankees to a 17-6 record in his starts. On June 19, he sat at 9-4 with a 3.39 ERA. In the seven starts since, his ERA has dropped nearly a full run, he's posted a downright nasty 11.85 K/9 rate and has pitched into the eighth inning five times – winning six of the seven outings. The Yankees have the third-best record in baseball and are 6.5 games ahead of the Angels in the AL Wild Card race. The Bombers give CC the best run support of the three at 7.58 runs per game when the big fella starts.

Verlander (14-5, 169 K) was equally impressive in June winning all six starts with a 0.92 ERA and a disgusting 54:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Tigers are 15-8 in games in which he pitches, and he has completed eight innings in 12 of his 23 starts (CC has nine such outings and Weaver has six). He also leads the trio with a 0.89 WHIP. Detroit is giving him adequate run support at 5.05 runs per trip to the mound.

Weaver (14-4, 134 K) posted his best numbers early in the season, winning all six starts in March and April with a 0.99 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 45.2 IP. The Angels are 15-7 overall in his starts including 2-1 against rival first-place Texas in three starts. Weaver has gotten the least run support of the group at a paltry 3.97 runs per game.

Deciding between the three is virtually impossible. Weaver owned the first two months of the season, Verlander dominated June, and CC has crushed the month of July. With roughly two months left in the season, there is still plenty of work left to do, but on July 27th, it is a dead heat.

Have fun, voters!

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)