FanDuel - WFBC

September 03, 2005

NL Cy Young: Carpenter may have tipped the scale: Chris Carpenter and Roger Clemens faced off in a showdown of the two most likely Cy Young candidates. Chris Carpenter may have pushed himself to the forefront. I think the stats from the game speak for themselves: Carpenter - 9 innings, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 8 K's 2.28 ERA. Clemens - 5 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 K's, 1.57 ERA. Carpenter is also the first 20 game winner and "He has won his last 12 decisions and is 12-0 with 1.44 ERA in his last 14 starts, with three shutouts and six complete games" Clemens may not have alot of run support and a low ERA, but Carpenter continues to deliver complete games that put W's up for the Cards. Also, Carpenter's ERA continues to fall, as Clemens ERA is on the rise. Barring a melt down, this showdown may have proven that Carpenter should win the NL Cy Young.

posted by mcstan13 to baseball at 11:18 PM - 17 comments

Just looking at the stats, I totally agree with you that Carpenter should pick up the nod for the Cy Young.

posted by supersly26 at 12:15 AM on September 04

I know the Cardinals are winning their division by a LARGE margin, but, consider this. Carpenter is 4-0 against the divisional 2nd place team this year with an ERA against them of 0.82. He has beaten Clemens twice, Petitte, and Oswalt. If the Cardinals were on the East Coast the media would be screaming for the Cy young AND MVP awards for that kind of performance. I think he is worthy of serious consideration for the dual honors.

posted by imanage at 01:42 AM on September 04

Carpenter should easily win the voting with Dontrell Willis far back in second. Carpenter has been dominating down the stretch which should carry far more weight than Clemens season long hard luck story.

posted by sandman at 03:09 AM on September 04

Yeah, but inexplicably, Clemens still brings the goodwill, and the fact that he's 42 years old and still padding his career stats seems to make some sportswriters all dewy-eyed. (The Astros are winning games, just not for him. That's not a characteristic of a Cy Young Winner, no matter how great people think his career was.) sandman's prediction should be correct. But then again, there should be peace on Earth, and the National Guard should have been in New Orleans by Monday. So Clemens may yet get the nod.

posted by chicobangs at 04:02 AM on September 04

Carpenter has a lot more wins than Clemens, but then, the St. Louis Cardinals are a better team than the Houston Astros and put up a lot more runs than the Astros. Clemens would have won more games had the Astros been a better team able to score more runs. Carpenter and the Cardinals have done a sensational job this year -- no question. But does that make him a better pitcher this year than Clemens? I'm not sure. I still use ERA over the long haul as a big factor in Cy Young. Wins/runs are a team effort. ERA looks directly at a pitching performance.

posted by roberts at 05:03 AM on September 04

I agree roberts that the ERA is a good measure of pitching performance. That's what good about the Cy Young, many opinions and theories. I just wish they would publish who voted for whom to stop the sometimes bogus & biased vote outcomes. Other items to note - Carpenter also outdueled Clemons on 7/17, He has five shutouts, pitches about 1 more inning a game, if you threw out Carpenters 4/10 start the ERA's would be a lot closer. I wonder if anyone has ever won it with such a low win total and 8-9 wins less than the league leaders?

posted by sandman at 07:57 AM on September 04

But does that make him a better pitcher this year than Clemens? I'm not sure. I still use ERA over the long haul as a big factor in Cy Young. Wins/runs are a team effort. ERA looks directly at a pitching performance. Yes and no. One of Carpenter's strongest points as a pitcher is that he's willing to sacrifice a run here and there for a win overall. In his most recent start before last night (I believe) he found himself with runners on the corners with only one out. He threw pitch after pitch to the outside, trying to get -well, whoever that batter was- to fly out, which inevitably happened. Sure, he gave up a sac fly and a run, but he got out of the inning only giving up one run instead of risking something more by trying to burn through the batters and shutting them out. He's a very smart pitcher and the fact that the Cardinals are a good hitting team is not the only difference between he and Clemens's W-L column. Besides, Clemens can take his run support sob-story and shove it up his ass. He easily could've been a Ranger, but told the boys in Arlington that he was retired, no questions asked, done with the game, kthxbye.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:59 AM on September 04

He's a very smart pitcher and the fact that the Cardinals are a good hitting team is not the only difference between he and Clemens's W-L column. Very true. Carpenter is a smart pitcher. But so is Clemens. He wouldn't have lasted in MLB as long as he has if he was a dumb pitcher. A fastball only goes so far. You need to have more pitches, and you must know how to use them is various circumstances. A good-hitting team does make a pitcher look better. That's reality. Just as a bad hitting team detracts from a pitcher's true quality. A quick example is Tom Glavine. The Mets don't produce a lot of runs. Consequently Glavine, who is no slouch as a pitcher, hasn't got a lot of wins with them.

posted by roberts at 08:50 AM on September 04

Carpenter also threw a 3 hitter v Willis on Aug 2. I think he locked it up yesterday. What about the AL? My vote goes to Colon. 5-0, 1.72 his last 6 starts.

posted by catfish at 10:00 AM on September 04

I understand the argument about ERA, but that is only part of the story. Your ERA can be effected by alot of things. Plus, who cares if you are a great pitcher if you are not winning. Clemens is 42, he has won 7 cy youngs. He has a ton of experience, he should be pitching like he is. Carpenter is young and completely dominant. He has led the rotation as #1 and has gotten it done day in and day out putting the W's up. That is why he should win.

posted by mcstan13 at 10:47 AM on September 04

I remember thinking Tony LaRussa's decision to start Carpenter in the All-Star game was because they were in the same organization. But after watching Carpenter dominate the major league's for the last 5 months, that was the right choice. Carpenter is hands down the best pitcher in the NL this year and deserves the Cy Young. To round out my top five NL pitchers this year they are: Clemens, Willis, P. Martinez and the Nats John Patterson

posted by erkno11 at 11:23 AM on September 04

About a month ago, I was completely on the side of Clemens winning the Cy Young. The wins statistic as a measurement of pitching ability is bogus for two reasons:

  1. The pitcher has absolutely no control (or minimal control, if they are in the NL) of how his team produces runs. If his team never scores a run, he'll never get a win. Blaming the pitcher for not winning a game is like saying you won't date someone because their sibling is really ugly. It's not their fault, it is not under their control, and it really shouldn't be held against them.
  2. Pitcher A can throw 8 innings of shutout baseball and leave the game with a 2-0 lead. The "closer" could come in, cough up 2 runs in the top of the 9th and then get the "win" if his team scores a run in the bottom of the 9th. A pitcher gets the win by sitting in the dugout when his team scores the "go ahead run". It's a silly statistic.
After saying all that, I'd give it to Carpenter (at this point). He's leading in IP, BB/9IP, K/9IP, K/BB, and CG while Clemens leads in ERA and WHIP. While the last two categories are pretty damn important, it's the IP difference and the complete games that push me (ever-so-slightly) to the side of Carpenter at this point. The Win Share totals give Clemens a big edge too (24 to 18), but I don't tend to put too much weight in them for pitchers until the end of the season. However, there is still a month to go. If Clemens goes 4-0 and Carpenter goes 0-4, and Clemens ERA stays where it's at but Carpenters goes up 0.25, then I can definitely see why Clemens would be my choice. But in terms of the baseball writers who do the actual voting on the Cy Young, it's already been awarded to Carpenter in their minds because of thoughts like this: Joe Morgan: Everything you have said depends on the team. ERA also depends on errors and how good the team plays. If the team makes mental mistakes, the pitcher still pays for it. The game is still wins and losses. The Pirates led the league in ERA in 1989 or around there. The finished last. I guarantee you those pitchers would have rather had wins. You don't send a pitcher out to the mound and say "get a good ERA." You want him to win games. A good ERA might come with wins, but the wins and losses are the most important. If you had a guy with a .001 ERA but never won a game and another guy had a 3.5 ERA and won 25 games, who would you give the award to? Wins and losses is the column that matters most.

posted by grum@work at 01:05 PM on September 04

It's a silly statistic. I should have said "It's a silly statistic for pitchers."

posted by grum@work at 01:06 PM on September 04

great stats. I agree, Clemens has done a great job but has not been as dominant this year as Carpenter.

posted by ELWAY_FAN at 05:00 PM on September 04

I'd certainly give the award to Clemens at this point. It's Clemens season that people will in 50 years look back on in amazement, not Carpenter's. Clemens has simply pitched better than Carpenter despite pitching half his games in a park well established as a terrible park for pitchers. Starting pitchers have about 30% control, at best, over what their W-L record is, so I consider that statistic to be completely irrelevant. It's a scoring artifice; pitchers don't or lose games any more than left fielders do. Baseball would do just fine - actually, it would be a better game, since managers wouldn't try to push their pitchers to give them 5 innings when they can't - if the stat had never existed in the first place. The writers, of course, will give the award to Carpenter, because he has many more wins. Carpenter is having a Cy Young worthy season, of course - we're not talking about LaMar Hoyt in 1983 or even Clemens in 2001. He's way better than any pitcher in the AL this year (as is Dontrelle Willis as well). I'm still looking if anyone in the AL will step up in September to end up with a Cy Young worthy season - Bartolo Colon looks like the best bet as of now.

posted by spira at 05:05 PM on September 04

No for Clemens. ERA is the most important statistic in measuring a pitcher's performance over the course of a season, but there are other factors as well. Carpenter has pitched so many more innings (you want your best out there as long as possible), has more strikeouts, has the best strikeout/walk - and all the other stats grum mentioned - and has beaten the best the league has to offer against him heads up - including Clemens. It is Carpenter's; he has been the best and beaten the best. If Clemens had pitched more, he'd get more consideration - but I'd put him behind Dontrelle for CY Young into third. Carpenter has also pitched the best game in the ML this year and has 3 of the top five games pitched in the NL. Clemens has none. Sorry - pitching six beautiful innings every fifth day is tremendous - but it pales in comparison to what Carpenter is doing.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:02 PM on September 04

Carpenter kept his thumb on his end of the balance last night in St. Louis against the Mets. His line was typical: 7IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 7K, ERA falling to 2.21, 96-63 (pitches-strikes). LaRussa pulled him to keep him strong down the stretch and give the bullpen a couple innings. Fact is, the Rocket has been the best 6 inning pitcher in baseball this season. But the number of innings Carpenter has pitched beyond the 7th (48 vs Clemens 24), and the fact that all of his relevant stats IMPROVE in the late innings (where Roger's all get worse) makes him the pitcher you'd pick to head up your rotation if you got to choose on Opening Day. Carpenter's stats from the 7th on: INN - 48 ERA - 1.29 (7 runs in 48 complete) appearances - 26 (out of 29 starts) OpBA - .175 (30 hits for 177 batters) OpOBP - .203 (those 30 hits plus 5 (FIVE) walks) OpSLG - .246 K - 39 K/9 - 7.2 K/BB - 7.8 (obscene) WHIP - 0.7 To find late-inning stats similar to these you have to go to the only members of the reliever corps whose names have even been mentioned in this year's CY debate: Rivera and Cordero. Take a look at them. Carpenter's numbers in the late innings are equal to or better than those being posted by what some consider one of the best relievers ever, having one of his best seasons. Now, if you knew going into the season that in 26 of his first 29 starts Carpenter was going to take the mound in the 7th, pitch another 1 2/3 and do THAT, it would be foolish not to take him over every other pitcher in the game. Look at Clemens' late inning stats and tell me a pitcher has little or no impact on whether his team wins or loses.

posted by semantic at 12:48 PM on September 09

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