In other news, the sun rose this morning. Sandberg has killed me all year, and here he (or his ghostwriter) goes again.
This immediately took Dontrelle Willis (22-10, 2.63) out of the picture. Although Willis had an incredible season with the Florida Marlins, I felt that - to be considered the best pitcher in the league - the winner had to be able to win big games down the stretch and lead his team to the postseason.
This is part one of the ridiculous analyzation process of Ryne Sandberg. The award is for the best pitcher. I don't know why this is so hard for people.
Although Clemens' ERA was amazing, his win total prevented him from capturing his eighth Cy Young Award. Obviously, you can't blame Clemens for not getting more run support on the Houston Astros, but his win-loss record put voters in a tough spot. How could you rationalize giving it to a guy who only had 13 wins?
And part two. I ask how you can not rationalize it. He was clearly the best pitcher in the National League.
Carpenter deserved this award. The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander was the ace on the NL's best team, and he threw a ton of innings (241-2/3, tied for second in the league). Carpenter also went 8-0 in July and August when the Cardinals needed him most.
The way I look at it, Carpenter carried his team the entire year.
With no help from three other solid starters, Albert Pujols or Jim Edmonds. It was all Chris Carpenter.
How did the Cardinals need Carpenter so badly in July and August? They had the division in the bag almost from the word go this year. They were never challenged by anyone.
This "big games down the stretch" nonsense is moronic. Willis put up a 1.06 ERA in August. What in the hell more can you ask him to do, hit grand slams? He was at 2.49 in September. He had a rough July, but that's it. Clemens had a bad September, though not quite as bad as Willis' July was. Every single other month, his ERA was below two.
Carpenter, on the other hand, was fabulous from June through August. Now I am not downplaying that, because he was seriously great (0.90 in June, 1.11 in July, 2.17 in August), but he was mortal in the first two months and stunk it up in September.
And this all ignores Andy Pettitte, who was phenomenal and had his best season ever. He was better than everyone that wasn't Clemens, in fact. And hell, if you want a guy that truly helped his club get into the playoffs with wins down the stretch, Pettitte was 13-2 from July through September, posting ERAs of 0.90, 2.25 and 1.86. He won 17 games. But he was barely even an afterthought it would appear.
None of this supposed logic holds up to even the slightest bit of half-assed scrutiny. The way I look at it, Chris Carpenter had a great, great year, and he seems like a hell of a guy and he's a super story coming back from two shoulder surgeries and years of disappointment to become a legitimate ace pitcher, but despite all that lovely stuff, he was the fourth-best pitcher in the National League at best. There was also a fellow by the name of Pedro Martinez who was outstanding.
This all doesn't even address the crime committed against Johan Santana in the AL Cy Young voting, where he was clearly heads and shoulders above the rest of the pack and had basically the same year he did last year - a solid first half and a lights out second half - but this year the Twins couldn't hit anything so he didn't win 20 games. The defenses that Sandberg and others come up with for these selections, which are just downright wrong, are cockamamie garbage. YES, I worked in "cockamamie."