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Garceau: Making A Case For The Closer

Attention all voters: Orioles closer Zach Britton is a legit CY Young candidate.

Britton's got a few things working against him here, but none of it has to do with his performance. Britton has been brilliant! How's this for a resume.

• 34 for 34 in save opportunities the longest save streak to start a season by a lefthander in MLB history
• First among MLB relief pitchers with a 0.57 ERA (only qualifying MLB reliever with a sub 1.00 ERA)
• Has not given up an earned run in his last 38 games
• First among MLB relief pitchers with a 78.6% ground ball percentage
• Britton's given up 1-home run in 49 games and opponents are hitting a measly.139 against him

It's not easy for a closer to be the Cy guy, its only happened four times in the American League since the Cy Young Award was first presented in 1956. I understand some voters feel a starter who throws over 200 innings has more value than a relief pitcher who might toss 60-70 frames but here are 4 CY guys who beat the odds…

• 1992-- Dennis Eckersley, Oakland
• 1984-- Willie Hernandez, Detroit
• 1981-- Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee
• 1972-- Sparky Lyle, NY Yankees

White Sox ace Chris Sale shot out to a 14-2 start and looked like the frontrunner to win the 2016 award but the White Sox have lost 4 of Sale's last 5 starts and his ERA is up to 3.16. Of the last 10 AL award winners only C.C. Sabathia (2007) had an ERA above 3.00 (3.21).
There are a handful of good candidates but as of today none have that wow he's the guy feel. Toronto's J.A. Happ leads the league with 16 wins and an ERA just under 3.00 (2.96). His teammate Aaron Sanchez is having a breakthrough season but could be innings limited for the remainder of the season.

Boston's Rick Porcello has a chance to win 20 and lefties Jose Quintana (White Sox) and Cole Hamels (Rangers) have been impressive. Any of the above could finish strong over the next month and a half and win the award but right here, right now, my vote goes to the lefty with what might be the nastiest sinker baseball has ever seen. Zach Britton has me and hitters going WOW!!!

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