Is Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton a serious candidate for the AL Cy Young? The last relief pitcher to win the AL Cy Young was Dennis Eckersely back in 1992. If you’re not taking Britton as a serious contender than who are you looking at for the award. Detroit Tigers rookie Michael Fulmer and Kansas City Royals lefty Danny Duffy have probably been the two best starting pitchers in the AL, but are they Cy Young worthy? Fulmer is 10-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 20 starts as of right now. He will probably win the AL Rookie of the Year award, but could he claim the Cy Young as well. Duffy has made 19 starts, but has appeared in 35 games since he started the year pitching out of the Kansas City bullpen. Duffy is 11-1 with a 2.66 ERA going into today’s schedule start against the Boston Red Sox. J.A. Happ of the Toronto Blue Jays is 17-4 in 25 starts with an ERA of 3.19 while Rock Porcello of the Red Sox is 17-3 in 26 starts with an ERA of 3.23 and will receive consideration for the award. The fact that Porcello is having a good year and wears a Red Sox uniform may actually make him the front runner for the award. All 4 of these pitchers have had good seasons to this points and there starts down the stretch will impact where they finish in the Cy Young voting, but I don;t think any of them has had a better year than Britton. Britton has appeared in 55 games for Baltimore. He is 2-1 with an 0.69 ERA and is 38 for 38 in save opportunities this season. Britton has pitched 52 innings, allowed 27 hits and allowed 7 runs to score, but just 4 of then where earned. He’s struck out 61 batters while walking 16 and has allowed just 1 home run. Opponents are hitting .150 against him and his WHIP is 0.83. Baltimore has 34 games left and since they’re in the pennant race there’s a chance Britton gets close to 80 appearances. I’m sure Fulmer, Duffy, Happ and Porcello’s teams all have close to the sane number of games so they should each get 4 or 5 starts depending on where they are in their rotations; so they’ll have some chances to show they deserve the award. The Orioles are currently 70-58 in the AL East. They are 2 games behind Happ and the Blue Jays for the division lead and 1 game behind Porcello and the Red Sox for 2nd place. Baltimore is holding onto the 2nd AL wild card spot right now as they have a 1 game lead over Fulmer’s Tigers. Duffy’s Royals are 67-61 and are currently 3 games out of the wild card spot. So as you can see each guy is pitching for a playoff contender. That means the choice should come down to who the best pitcher is.
I can understand if you don’t recognize the name Kerry Hyder. It took me a little while t figure who he was and who he played for. Hyder is a defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions. In the Lions August 18th game against the Cincinnati Bengals Hyder put a hit on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton that the NFL decided was roughing the passer. Hyder was fined $18,231 for this hit. This happens pretty much every week in the NFL, but this one is interesting because Hyder has yet to earn an “accredited” season in the NFL he is only making $1000 a week during pre-season. So basically the NFL just fined Hyder about three times what he’ll make. Now Hyder can appeal this fine and the players Collective Bargining Agreement has provisions for this situation. “On appeal, a player may assert, among other defenses, that any fine should be reduced because it is excessive when compared to the player’s expected earnings for the season in question,” the CBA also states; “However, a fine may be reduced on this basis only if it exceeds 25 percent of one week of a player’s salary for a first offense, and 50 percent of one week of a player’s salary for a second offense. The rule also says: “A player may also argue on appeal that the circumstances do not warrant his receiving a fine above the amount stated in the schedule of fines.” You’ll have to think that Hyder will go the appeal route and use these CBA provisions to get his fine reduced.
Hyder was on the New York Jets practice squad in the 2014 season and was with the Lions on their practice squad during 2015 before being signed for the final game of the 2016 season with Detroit. Hyder is 25 years old and played in his college ball at Texas Tech is trying to make the Lions and add some depth at their defensive tackle position.
There are just 3 races left until The Chase; so any driver looking for a win to get in is running out of time. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup series is at the Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400. Joey Logano won the pole with a speed of 201.698 m.p.h. Jimmie Johnson will start 2nd with Denny Hamlin 3rd, last weeks winner Kevin Harvick will start 4th and Chase Elliott rounds out the Top 5 starting the race in the 5th spot. Elliott is the only driver in the Top 5 without a win this season, but he is currently in The Chase on points. Elliott along with Austin Dillion, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray are the 4 drivers that would qualify for The Chase without a win right now. If any driver not currently in the Top 16 finds his or her way into victory lane they would bump one of these drivers out of The Chase. Newman is the driver in 16th place right now and he has a 35 point lead on 17th place Trevor Bayne and a 39 point lead on 18th place Kyle Larson. With just 3 races to go that’s a pretty sizeable points margin to make up unless Newman has difficulties in all 3 races. Chris Buescher picked up a win in the rain shortened Pocano race and has moved into the Top 30 in points; so he’s in The Chase. Will we see a driver outside the Top 16 get a win and move into The Chase or will someone already in start to look like a serious cup contender and grab another victory. On a side note Alex Bowman who is driving the #88 car this week for Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a good qualifying run and will start 6th tomorrow.
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