Handing out the first-half awards

You think it's fun being an awards voter? You think it's easy writing columns like this and inviting the enjoyable tweets and emails you're about to start typing, all because I was dopey and misguided enough not to pick Clayton Kershaw or Johnny Cueto as my official half-Cy? Yeah, that's a dream come true, all right. But in the end, when you vote or when you write these columns, you have to pick somebody, right? So this came down to figuring out how to look at a multiple-choice quiz with no wrong answers and choose just one of the above. An impossible job -- but somebody had to do it! All right, so why not Kershaw, a man with a 1.78 ERA? I concede he's the best pitcher in baseball. And I'm awestruck that he could go out and hang 41 consecutive zeroes on the scoreboard. He's also, somehow, given up a total of just eight runs in his last 10 starts put together, which is absurd. But this isn't a career achievement award. It's a 2014 award. And Adam Wainwright has thrown 24.2 more innings than he has. So us half-Cy voters have to factor in stuff like that, especially when so many of their other numbers are equal. OK, so why not Cueto, a guy whose ERA had, amazingly, rested below 2.00 after 15 starts in a row before it "soared" to 2.03 this week? Only because, on my personal half-Cy scorecard, Wainwright has had more A.S. (awesome starts) than Cueto -- or anyone else. Take away Wainwright's only two clunkers (seven runs against the Giants, six against the Cubs), and he has made 16 other starts. He's allowed 13 runs in those 16 trips to the mound combined. And in nine of them, he gave up zero runs and went at least seven innings -- a feat the Elias Sports Bureau tells us has been achieved by no pitcher, over his first 18 starts, in the history of baseball. (Heck, even Bob Gibson only did it seven times in 1968 on the way to his fabled 1.12 ERA.) So I cast this half-Cy vote for Adam Wainwright. Start typing those tweets in 3-2-1. ...

Apologies to: Kershaw, Cueto, Julio Teheran, Henderson Alvarez.

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners

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