Back in 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s home run race sparked the sport. Years later we’d learn why, but it did put a focus on what used to be “America’s Pastime”. Now fast forward to 2018 and the Cy Young race is keeping the sport afloat and I’ll explain why.
The Boston Red Sox are running away with the regular season. They’re 91-42. They’ve only lost 18 games at home so far. There are a few races still alive in the sport but the large majority of fans, whose teams are out of it, seemed to have latched on to every start Jacob deGrom (Mets), Max Scherzer (Nationals), and Aaron Nola (Phillies) make. Last night Nola and Scherzer faced off.
All three pitchers had hashtags trending on Twitter as they were on the mound. They’re all tying and setting club records and if this continues very old major league records could be broken via this trio.
You could make an argument, a good one, for any one of the three winning the award. This will clearly come down to their last starts of the season. The Phillies are the only team in a serious pennant race of the three. Will that matter? It might. It shouldn’t, but it might.
Home runs are up, strikeouts are up, pitching is better than ever. Is this the right formula? I’ve always been that fan that loves dominant pitching and will watch and pay to see it. I get that I’m probably in the minority, but Twitter told me another story yesterday. Fans were into this from afar. That’s good for the sport and this race is giving fans something else to watch besides the pennant races that remain.
Players are throwing harder than ever before. That’s exciting. A few starts ago deGrom pitched a complete game. He hit 99 on his last batter.
Here are three stats that have really impressed me.
Nola – His current WAR is at 9.2. His .833 winning percentage is impressive as well.
deGrom – His 1.68 ERA is close to the lowest in the last 32 years. Zack Greinke had a 1.66 in 2015.
Scherzer – 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
I know attendance is down at the ballpark in most cities. Television ratings are different and that’s been solid.
There are five weeks left in the season. I’m watching this very closely and something tells me I’m not the only one.