MLB Awards Watch: Chris Sale, Max Scherzer lead Cy Young races

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Chris Sale /
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BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 1: Chris Sale (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 1: Chris Sale (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

1. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

Like Kimbrel, Sale’s last outing for the Red Sox was rough. Sale allowed seven earned runs on eight hits, including two homers, and one walk in five innings against the Indians Tuesday. He struck out five. The performance broke a string of three straight scoreless starts, and resulted in more runs allowed than he has allowed in any start this season, including his six previous starts combined.

Nevertheless, the lefty has been the best pitcher in baseball this year, and it really isn’t even close. Sale is 13-4 with a 2.70 ERA and 216 strikeouts in 153.1 innings across 22 starts in a Red Sox uniform, leading the AL in wins and leading all of baseball in strikeouts and ranking fourth in ERA. He has been worth 6.5 fWAR, which is 2.0 wins more than the next closest pitcher and 2.4 wins more than any other AL pitcher.

Sale leads all qualified starters in FIP (2.09), FIP- (48), SIERA (2.55) and K/9 (12.68). He ranks second on xFIP (2.70), third in ERA- (59), WHIP (0.91) and batting average allowed (.198).

Sale has finished in the top six of the AL Cy Young Award vote in each of the last five seasons, but never higher than third. He has earned MVP votes in each od the last two seasons. Given his performance on the mound, and the likelihood he helps lead the Red Sox to the postseason – something he never did with the White Sox – he’s the clear-cut favorite to win his first plaque this year.