Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is running away (pitching away?) with the National League's Cy Young race, say gamblers who make their living on that kind of thing. Bovada.lv apparently believes that Kershaw is such a lock for Cy Young that they've taken him off the board. You can't even bet on him anymore.
No matter that Kershaw missed six starts near the beginning of the season because of a back injury — enough time away that almost always kills a player's chances at winning a major award — he's still compiled enough wins above replacement to be considered better than any other pitcher.
Coming into his start Tuesday night, Kershaw has posted a 1.73 ERA with 194 strikeouts and 23 walks in 161 1/3 innings, which adds up to 7.0 WAR. He's allowed 32 runs — 31 earned — in 22 starts. Just amazing, though the current dead-ball era we're in and the wide confines of Dodger Stadium aren't hurting him.
Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds, who has made seven more starts than Kershaw, has a 2.26 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 207 innings, but only accumulated 5.6 WAR units. Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies has 5.1 WAR and a 2.50 ERA in 25 starts, and no other starting pitchers are higher than Adam Wainwright's 4.5 WAR in 27 starts. His slump (so to speak) surely contributes to Kershaw's odds falling off the board.
It's possible that Kershaw's early season hiatus might cost him a unanimous CY Young vote among the BBWAA elecorate, but his absence is not going to keep him from winning it — as long as he stays healthy the rest of the way.
It should be noted that Bovada lists Kershaw as a 2-to-3 frontrunner to win the NL MVP, so gamblers can get some action there. Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is the 6-to-5 second choice, with Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates hanging around at 10 to 1.
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is 1 to 2 to win his first AL MVP, with Robinson Cano a 5-to-1 secondary choice. Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez is 6 to 1 for AL MVP.
Thanks to the Angels' big surge, along with a huge slump by the Oakland Athletics, there's also a new favorite to win the World Series: The Angels, at 5 to 1, after being 10 to 1 on Aug. 1. The A's, who were 5-to-1 favorites a month ago, are 7-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 11 to 2, the Washington Nationals have dropped to 6 to 1, and the Baltimore Orioles are 7 to 1.
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