Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Will the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander split MVP votes with teammate Miguel Cabrera?

Before the weekend, I would have said with relative certainty, the Tigers Justin Verlander would become the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to be named MVP.
The reasons are many. There is no clear-cut position player, who has emerged for the honor. Verlander was ahead of other pitchers in the American League in most important categories - by a wide margin in most. He won all those games after Tigers losses. He pitched a no-hitter. He's just stood out like no other pitcher of his generation in a single season.
Those parameters are still very much in place, but not to the same degree. They would have been if Verlander had pitched better Saturday against Baltimore. Giving up five runs in seven innings raised his ERA to 2.40, narrowly ahead of the Angels Jared Weaver, who will carry a 2.41 ERA into his final start Wednesday against Texas. It had been a given Verlander would win the triple crown of pitching - wins, ERA, strikeouts. It's not anymore. Also, Verlander wasn't involved in the decision (the Tigers eventually lost the game that night). It kept him at 24 victories. If he had gotten to 25, it would have been on his MVP resume that Verlander had the most wins in a season by any major league pitcher since Bob Welch had 27 in 1990.
At the same time, the Tigers have surged down the stretch of the season behind Miguel Cabrera, who now leads the American League in hitting. Will there be MVP voters who view Cabrera's contribution as more important to the Tigers, because he plays every day, than those of Verlander? Will it split some of the votes that would have otherwise gone to Verlander? Cabrera has never won the MVP before. There might some voters who feel this is year.
I still think Verlander will win the MVP, which I think is important to him gathering credentials to possibly reach the Hall of Fame someday. But it might be close.



Anonymous Nolan said...

The Tigers lost, not won, on Saturday night. As for Verlander gathering HOF credentials, I don't think winning or not winning the MVP this year will have too much impact. If he wins 250+ games, wins 3 or 4 Cy Youngs, posts over 3000 K's and throws another no hitter or 2 he will make it regardless. I just hope he does it all with the Olde English D on his hat.

12:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Caught that, and corrected it. Thanks. As for other parts, what if he doesn't win all those awards. It'd be huge in consideration if he is on the borderline.

12:46 PM 
Blogger Farris Khan said...

This would be an acceptable scenario for me:

1. Verlander loses MVP because Weaver pitches a gem and wins tomorrow... knocking Verlander out of the triple crown for pitching.

2. Tigers get home field.

3. Red Sox play Rays in Tampa on Thurs... and win.

4. Red Sox forced to use someone other than Lester or Beckett in Game 1 in Detroit after traveling from Baltimore, to Tampa on back to back days.

2:20 PM 

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