With a 16 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League central and a 6 1/2 game lead for the overall best record the Cubs’ playoff birth is certainly assured, but the race for Cy Young is just starting to heat up with the Cubbies’ Jon Lester and and Kyle Hendricks chasing down Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer.
Heading into tonights’ games Max Scherzer leads the National League Cy Young race with a 16-7 record with a 2.88 ERA, but the Cubbies who continue to steam roll towards the playoffs have two irons in the fire with both Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks making this one of the tightest Cy Young races in recent memory.
The Case For Jon Lester
Lester who was brought in on a $155 million dollar free agency contract by the Cubs in 2014 has certainly done his part to be an ace at the top of the staff along with a calming veteran influence in the clubhouse. Lester who only trails Scherzer by 1 game in the win column with a 15-4 record also has a lower ERA at 2.61 compared to 2.88 for Scherzer. Lester can also point to to 2 complete games and an impressive .81% Quality Start ratio versus Scherzer’s 1 compete game and a Quality Start ratio of .76%.
The Case For Kyle Hendricks
On an All Star staff anchored by 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and the formentioned Jon Lester Kyle Hendricks has flown under the radar until this year. Hendricks who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in 2012 as part of the Ryan Dempster trade has firmly established himself as Greg Maddux’s heir apparent. The association with Maddox is a natural one as Hendricks does not have over powering stuff, but like Maddux does overwhelm batters with pinpoint location. Hendricks is currently leading the National League in ERA with 2.07 which is almost a full run better than Scherzer to go along with 14 wins while pitching 2 fewer games than Scherzer.
The Case For Max Scherzer
There is a lot to like about Scherzer who leads the league with 16-7 record with 22 quality starts. Sabermetrics followers will also point to Scherzer 5.7 WAR rating which is notably higher than Lester and Hendricks who have 4 and 4.1 WAR rating respectively. Drilling down deeper on the data Scherzer has also been on the wrong end of 3 Tough Losses which if his team had won would inflate his record to a 19-7 adjusted record. Looking at Lester’s Tough Losses he he would pick up 2 games to increase his adjusted record to 17 wins and Hendricks would pick up 1 game resulting in a 15 adjusted wins.
Knowing this page is unapologetically a homer for all things Chicago I am going with one of my Cubbies and this is not just a homer’s opinion. As the hottest team in the major leagues all things in the baseball universe are gravitating towards the Cubs and this will result in another Cy Young Award in Chicago! As any good Chicagoan I am voting twice with Lester and Hendricks!
If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out another Chicago Sports Homer article: Why Are Chicago Cubs’ Fans So Nervous!
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