And Down the Stretch They Come!
My picks for the baseball awards, through August:
AL MVP: Joe Mauer, Twins. A catcher leading the league in hitting? Mauer's done that before (2006, 2008) , but he's never combined it with the sort of power--26 HR--that he's shown this season.
NL MVP: Chase Utley, Phillies. In my opinion, he's as good a player (not a hitter) as Albert Pujols. Both are having terrific years, but at some point, somebody has to acknowledge that this guy is a second baseman who's knocked in 100+ runs for the last four years. He's going to do it again this year.
AL Cy Young: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals. Look, this kid has star written all over him, he's leading the league in ERA, he's got a fine won/lost record considering his team, he's had some ridiculous lines this year. I really think he deserves it over some of the guys like Sabathia and Verlander who would probably finish ahead of him if the season ended today.
NL Cy Young: Chris Carpenter, St. Louis. Yeah, he's a finesse pitcher but you can't argue with the results. Almost certainly will get Comeback Player of the Year as well.
Team to Beat: Yankees. Please.