MLB Week in Review (August 12-18)

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As the season rounds the corner to the end of the year the focus for so many turns to the major awards of the season.

The postseason race is only heating up and for every team, they will need their best players to begin to play a bigger role.

Among those best players everyone wants to know who is ranked as the top in the league.

The Cy Young and MVP awards are always a topic for debate in the MLB with so many having their own opinion about the best players in the game.

This year though the debate is a little more intense as a major question has arisen in the Cy Young race.

The Cy Young Award is given to the best pitcher in baseball for each league every year. That is the definition of the award as the baseball writers look at the entire league and select who they believe is the best pitcher based on the performance of the year.

What the award has turned into though is an award for the best starting pitcher in the league.

There have only ever been nine relief pitchers to win the award in the history of the league.

The Cy Young has become such a starting pitcher award that reliever of the year awards was started in 2005 to reward the best from the bullpen.

It was essentially assumed that the Cy Young had now become a more specific award but that relief pitchers deserved some love too.

The Cy Young is a starter’s award but the rules still define it as the best pitcher in the league regardless of where they sit on the roster.

That has rarely led to much debate over the years as starters continue to win the award and starters continue to be favoured.

After all, starters are the pitchers who have to come in once every five days and pitch more innings than anyone else.

They have a larger sample size to take from and so they often are the ones that everyone focuses on.

Over the last few years, though, relief pitchers have been taking a much larger focus as teams look to create devastating

When the Kansas City Royals won the World Series last year they did it with serviceable starting pitching and great relief pitching.

It led directly to a number of teams trying to recreate the bullpen as they pursue a World Series title.

With the new concentration on the bullpen, it seems like relief pitchers are getting more love than ever before.

The importance of the relief pitcher is now being seen and as a result, the best relief pitchers in the game are becoming much bigger names.

This year that includes Zach Britton who is far and away the best relief pitcher in the league right now.

With an ERA of 0.45 including 37 saves, Britton has been lights out for the Orioles.

There is no more dominant pitcher than Britton this year and that is why his name is no being mention among the best starters in the Cy Young conversation.

In past years there always seemed to be one starter that ruled them all in each league while others looked to be compared to them.

This year there is not that one starter as a number all has a case to claim the Cy Young should their seasons continue but all have questions.

Aaron Sanchez is the ERA leader but may be headed to the bullpen before the year is out, Danny Duffy is having a great year but started the year in the bullpen, while Michael Fulmer hasn’t been around all year after being called up in April.

All three could win the Cy Young but all have questions and so in comes a reliever who has been the most consistent pitcher out of anyone in the league.

Then again he is a reliever and his sample size is smaller leaving many to claim that there is no chance he should be named the best pitcher.

As the season moves on the debate will continue as a reliever might be the best option for the Cy Young but not if a starter can separate himself.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

The Right Path
The Toronto Blue Jays continue their run towards the playoffs but frustration does sneak in as it did this week when Josh Donaldson and John Gibbons got into it in the dugout but in a perfect diffusion of the situation Donaldson claimed it was all about cologne showing no hard feelings

Changes Coming
The MLB is constantly concerned about pace of game and scoring as they continue to try to fix things and now they are beginning what could be a massive overhaul as Rob Manfred leads a group that will analyse the game and make changes over the next few years

On the Road Again
Jonathan Papelbon joined the Nationals for the postseason run last year but he couldn’t last a full year as the Nats released him this week with the former Reliever of the Year now looking for a new place to play


Key Series:
Baltimore Orioles 2-1 San Francisco Giants
– With the Orioles in a great fight with the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East the O’s took on a team that seems to be ready for a World Series run once again but the Orioles came out on top of this one to stay in their division fight

St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 Chicago Cubs
– The Cardinals are not a team that is known for giving in easily as they showed on the weekend beating the Cubs twice and keeping their hopes alive to beat the Cubs for the Central Division that the Cubs were running away with

Kansas City Royals 3-0 Detroit Tigers
– With the Cleveland Indians looking like the team to beat in the Central the Royals and Tigers could be fighting for a wild card spot and the Royals got a big boost in that fight sweeping the Tigers

Seattle Mariners 3-1 Los Angeles Angels
– For Mariners fans this is a time when they were ready to watch football as the Mariners are currently in the longest postseason drought but they Mariners are making a run as they took three games from the Angels

Upcoming Series:
Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates [Aug 19-21]
– The National League wild card race is heating up and the Pirates are trying to get back into the fight as they take on the Marlins who are trying to get into a wild card spot themselves in an important series for both teams

Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers [Aug 19-21]
– The Red Sox are looking to give David Ortiz one last great send-off as they are making a late season run at the postseason moving up the AL East and they try to continue that against the Tigers who are fighting for a wild card spot

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [Aug 23-25]
– The NL West has always seen one of the best rivalries in the sport and it is continuing as the Dodgers try to separate themselves from the Giants at the top of the West and the Giants try to take back the position they held all year

New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals [Aug 23-25]
– The Mets started out the year strong but recently have fallen off and out of the postseason race but they still have time to climb back and they will try to do just that against a team above them in the standings in the Cards

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