It was a great baseball season if you liked pitching. If you are a purist. If you think good pitching beats good hitting.
It was all summed up by how complicated the voting was for the Cy Young Award, the MVP honor accorded guys that toe the slab, bring the heat.
Pick any time during the season this summer, and we had a different pitcher dominate. And when it came time for the writers to select the best pitcher in each league, the debate was fierce.
Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros won it in the American League, and I still cannot get used to saying Astros-AL after all those years describing the Toy Cannon-the Killer Bs-Von Ryan Express, JR and more, as being National League residents.
The bearded lefty came out of nowhere, and led the Astros from nowhere into a Wildcard playoff game. Granted they were 1-and-done, but there would have been no Astros game in the post season were it not for that (20-8) record, and the amazing (15-0) record at hitter friendly Minute Maid Park.
David Price went from Detroit to Toronto, went (8-0) in one stretch, pitched on short rest, and nearly willed them thru the post season. Stunningly, his post season record as a starter showed him without a win, which was a surprise.
Over in the National League, Jake Arrieta carried the Cubs into October. He was dominant with that 1.77-ERA, trustworthy start-to-start, and just a bellweather of an anchor. And to think the Orioles let this guy get away. He was a warrior on the mound, outdistancing the scientist on the mound, the Dodgers righthander, who was second in voting.
Zack Greinke of the Dodgers came home a distant second, a slap in the face to greatness. You go (20-4) without run support, he should have garnered more votes. You take the mound 32-times, every start, and in 26 of them, you give up 2-runs or less, you deserve more than just 10-votes on the ballot. Maybe his quirks, eccentric nature, non media attitude worked against him.
Clayton Kershaw was third, way behind the pack, but despite a slow start in April-May, his tandem pairing with Greinke was something to watch. In one stretch he had a 0.95ERA stretching out over an 18-start binge. Think about that number.
A real tough call to vote on the best. Sometimes you think co-Cy Young Award winners would have been the way to go.
In the history of greatness, from the days of dominance of Bob Gibson to Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton to Roger Clemens, this was a spectacular summer of individual work.
But for this summer, if you liked excellence, you saw lots of it from pitchers who hurled their team into the postseason, so they could get their just rewards in the offseason..