Cy Young Sayonara

A year ago we were all eagerly pacing back and forth waiting for the National League Cy Young award to be announced. Brandon Webb had pitched an unbelievable year and was the odds on favorite to take the prize. This of course came to pass and for the fifth time in the team’s existence an Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher was touted as the best pitcher in the National League. Of course when you win a prestigious award such as the Cy Young there comes with that a tremendous amount of expectations from fans, teammates, and from yourself. With that respect it was difficult to imagine that Brandon Young could match what people thought he should do this season. Opening Day was a prime example. Before the game everyone expected Webb to dominate the Colorado Rockies. By the time the Diamondbacks had secured the win Brandon was long gone from the game.

Brandon Webb had one of those seasons where at the end you were left scratching your head. Watching his starts you would swear that he was not nearly the same pitcher as he was a year ago. Looking at the statistics many fans would question whether the years had been transposed. During his Cy Young season Brandon Webb’s statistics were a 16-8 record with a 3.10 earn run average while compiling 178 strikeouts. This season Webb went 18-10 with a 3.01 earned run average and 194 strikeouts. He also recorded 42 consecutive innings where he did not give up a run. Given that each of the major categories the voters look at were better this year than last and the scoreless streak you could make a case that Brandon Webb would repeat as Cy Young award winner.

Unfortunately timing is everything. Web’s 2006 numbers represented some of the best in the league while in 2007 his numbers were bested in almost every category by San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy. As impressive as Webb was, Peavy was better. Jake had a record of 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA and struck out 240 batters. The last time a pitcher led the categories of wins, ERA, and strikeouts was 2002 when Randy Johnson did it as an Arizona Diamondback. So while Brandon Webb had an excellent year it just was not quite good enough to take home the prize. Webb finished second which in and of itself is quite an accomplishment.

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