By Jason Wojciechowski on August 30, 2003 at 4:01 PM
Tim Hudson is becoming a better Cy Young candidate by the moment. After last night's 5-2 win over the Devil Rays, in which Hudson threw eight innings and gave up two runs on six hits and a walk, his record stands at 14-4. The win total isn't as gaudy as some others in the league, though he has moved into the top ten, but it's going to be hard for the voters to ignore the fact that he only has four losses and that he ranks second in ERA (to Pedro Martinez, who he trails by 0.10) and innings (Roy Halladay, 4.7), and first in WHIP (second is Mike Mussina, who trails by 0.03).
Whether he deserves it or not is another question, though the answer also favors Hudson. His 6.3 Support Neutral Wins Above Replacement is tied with Esteban Loaiza for the most in the majors and his 68.6 VORP is the best among pitchers, 0.2 ahead of Loaiza. In fact, since we can use VORP to compare pitchers to hitters, we can see that Hudson wouldn't make a terrible choice as AL MVP. As usual, Alex Rodriguez is the most valuable player in the league, but as usual, he probably won't win the award. The fourth highest VORP in the majors, and the second highest in the American League, however, belongs to Tim Hudson. Unfortunately, you probably have to win 25 games to have a shot at MVP as a starting pitcher, regardless of how you actually perform.
Those SNWAR numbers, I just noticed, don't include last night's game, so Hudson's good outing combined with the fact that Loaiza didn't pitch last night should move him into first place all alone. The VORP ratings do include last night's game.
Maybe Terrence Long just needs to hit anywhere in the bottom of the order. He batted eighth last night, and walked three times. Let's think about that. Before last night, Long had walked 25 times in 470 plate appearances. That's basically five percent of the time. It was pretty long (no pun intended) odds, then, that Long would walk three times last night.
Mark Ellis hit first again, and continued his mini-renaissance, going 2-4 with a walk and his 26th double of the year. Eric Chavez also continued his hot streak with two hits, including his 30th double of the year. If he can hit six more home runs before the year ends, this will be his third consecutive year with 30 doubles and 30 homers.
Is it me, or does Chris Singleton have a knack for the bases-loaded walk? He's only walked 24 times this year, but he walked a run in against Kansas City on May 29 and did it again against Baltimore on the 26th of August before doing it one more time last night. Thus, one eighth of Singleton's walks have come at the most opportune moment possible, and one eleventh of his RBI have been earned by trotting down to first.
I can't say enough about Keith Foulke. A three-run save against Tampa Bay isn't all that impressive, and he did give up a double to Rocco Baldelli, though Baldelli got thrown out trying to make it a triple, but he still got out of the inning using just nine pitches. That's impressive regardless of who you're pitching against.
Baltimore led Seattle last night 2-0 going into the bottom of the ninth, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead, as John Olerud hit a two-run single to end things, allowing Seattle to remain just two back of Oakland. Boston beat up on the Yankee pitching staff as well, so they remain tied with the Mariners.