The AL Cy Young race is getting tight. New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, the favorite to win the award, had another lackluster start Sunday and was booed at Yankee Stadium. Suddenly, his Cy Young case isn't as strong.
And I’m declaring Ray officially the best bet to win the 2021 AL Cy Young Award.
Ray is 12-5 in his 29 starts this year. He has a whopping 233 strikeouts and a 2.64 ERA. He has 74 strikeouts in just his last seven games.
And he’s sandwiched in the Cy Young odds by players who have been plagued by injuries. Cole left a start two weeks ago with hamstring tightness, plus he had COVID in early August; White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn missed time this month with right knee inflammation.
Considering the injuries affecting his competition, Ray seems like the most rock-solid, reliable pick down the stretch.
Ray opened this season with his odds to win this award off the board. At the beginning of August, Ray’s odds to win the AL Cy Young were +3500 and they had moved to +1200 by Aug. 23. Cole, who opened at +300 to win it, had +185 odds at the beginning of August and those moved to +325 by Aug. 23. Lance Lynn, whose odds to win the AL Cy Young are +1000, opened at +1300 to win it. Those odds were +110 at the beginning of August and were -227 by the end of the month before plummeting in September.
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Cole getting booed in the Bronx as he walked off the mound in the Yankees' 11-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday might just be the nail in his coffin for this year’s Cy Young. The optics of that are not great, nor is the timing with the Yankees fighting Ray's Blue Jays for a playoff spot. Cole is 15-8 this season with a 3.03 ERA and 231 strikeouts in 28 starts.
But, again, optics. And fair or not, making the playoffs could be the deciding factor in a tight AL Cy Young race. Take the value on Ray.
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