Today is the day.
For the majority of the 2011 baseball season, any fan chatter or writer’s talk that has included Justin Verlander has gone hand-in-hand with the name Cy Young.
Now comes the moment of truth, and what many baseball fans believe is a Cy Young Award certainty for the pitcher who wears Detroit’s number 35.
Clearly, Justin Verlander has been baseball’s most dominating pitcher this season – a fact not missed by even the most casual of baseball fans. He threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays in May (his second in his career) en route to clinching pitching’s Triple Crown in the American League with 24 wins, 250 strikeouts, and 2.40 ERA.
Detroit’s ace on the mound has already won several awards this off-season. Recently, he was voted player of year by the MLB Players Association.
A Cy Young Award would be the pitcher’s crowning achievement in his career.
Other 2011 Cy Young candidates include Jered Weaver (Angels), CC Sabathia (Yankees), James Shields (Rays), Josh Beckett (Red Sox) and Jose Valverde (Tigers).
Understandably, Valverde’s name has been lost in Verlander’s large shadow, however, he has a strong case for the award, too. He was perfect, saving 49 games in 49 save opportunities this season. He has a 2-4 record with a 2.24 ERA, and a 1.18 WHIP.
Valverde landed in a sixth place tie in the NL voting for the award in 2007 while he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was an MVP candidate in 2007 and 2008.
Plus, the off-season awards have not left his arms empty either. The All-Star was honored with the 2011 MLB Delivery Man of the Game.
But I believe that this is Verlander’s award in 2011.
Only two Tiger’s pitchers have won a Cy Young Award; Denny McLain in 1968/1969 and Willie Hernandez in 1984.
The winner is chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The announcement will be made at 2 p.m. EST.