Just when you think you know how the Cy Young races will shake out, everything changes. Tonight was no different. C.C. Sabathia looked like he had the inside track in the AL because he had 20 wins and the next highest win total was 18. If he reached 21 or 22 wins, he'd be a lock. Tonight, Sabathia faced off with Cy Young contender David Price in New York, and Sabathia ended up hurting his case.
Not exactly a dazzling outing for Price, but he's now 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA while Sabathia is 20-7 with a 3.26 ERA. He is also having a great September (3-0, 2.05 ERA), which voters will remember, while Sabathia's September ERA is close to 4.00.
A lot of people have been making the case for Felix Hernandez, and he pitched tonight too. Tonight, King Felix had a stellar performance: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER...and he lost, because the Mariners were shut out. His record is now 12-12, which has never been good enough for the Cy Young. He has 2 more starts, so it isn't over, and 14-12 with an ERA around 2.30 could win it this year.
Sometimes, though, life isn't fair and he could have 2 more great starts and get 2 more losses because the Mariners can't score any runs. Would he win the Cy Young Award if he was 12-13 or 12-14? Probably not. With other plausible candidates, he'll probably need to be 14-12, which is still a possibility.
Sabathia, with 20 wins, would be a suitable choice if he doesn't get lit up again. David Price (18-6, 2.84), Clay Buchholz (16-7, 2.39), Jon Lester (18-8, 3.06) and Trevor Cahill (17-7, 2.81) would all be reasonable choices as well, depending on how they finish the season.
If Felix Hernandez and C.C. Sabathia finish strong, one of them will probably win it. If they both struggle (or even just continue to lose), David Price could end up with the award at the last second.
It could come down to the final day of the season, and it might matter greatly whether Price gets 2 more starts. He is scheduled to make his final start in the final game, but the Rays could get him extra rest for the playoffs. If they have a chance of winning the division as opposed to the Wild Card, that could factor into whether he starts.