Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander is in the hunt for his 2nd AL Cy Young Award despite allowing a bunch of home runs.
This is all happening in spite of the fact he has allowed the 3rd most home runs in the American League and 4th most in all of Major League Baseball.
How is he having such an amazing season allowing that many home runs? The home runs are basically the only hits he has given up through this season.
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Of the 104 hits he has allowed, 29 of them have been home runs and as a result, at least 29 of the 51 runs scored against him have come via the long ball and that is only counting if the home runs are solo shots.
If he takes away all of those home runs, his ERA drops to 1.35 instead of the 2.82 he currently sits at. Now we know that is unrealistic to take away all of those home runs, but he is on track to beat his career-high of home runs allowed, which is 30. If he could cut down on the long ball, his ERA would drop dramatically.
Despite all of this, his ERA is tops in the AL. He is also allowing only 5.75 hits per 9 innings pitched and only giving up .848 walks + hits each inning he pitches, both of which are tops in the AL.
The race for the AL Cy Young really boils down to two pitchers and that is Justin Verlander and Cole. Either way, the award will reside with the Houston Astros as they have the best pitching rotation in all of baseball with those two and adding Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the trade deadline.
Not only will this rotation have the AL Cy Young award winner, but they are also the favorite to go to the World Series from the AL and will have a great shot at winning with those three pitchers.