With Trevor Bauer Injured, AL Cy Young is Chris Sale’s to Lose

In the midst of a career year, Cleveland Indians star right-hander Trevor Bauer has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with what is being referred to as a “small stress fracture” in his right fibula, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.

Even with an impressive American League Central lead, Bauer is without a doubt a key member of the Indians’ hopes at a World Series berth. Before the injury, Bauer owned a 12-6 record, with a 2.22 ERA, a career-high 214 strikeouts (in 166 innings), and 2.38 FIP. Those numbers add up to a strong candidacy for the AL Cy Young Award, which at the beginning of the month was seemingly a three-man race. Now, with Luis Severino‘s recent struggles, and Bauer’s injury, Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale now has the inside track to the prestigious award.

Sale has been nothing short of dominant for the AL East-leading Red Sox, pitching to a 12-4 record, 1.97 ERA, and a league-leading 219 strikeouts in 146 innings. As of August 15, Sale leads the American league in six categories, namely ERA, FIP, WHIP and strikeouts per nine innings.

Severino, following a dominant first-half, has slumped to an alarming 7.96 ERA since the All-Star break. In that time, his record has fallen from 14-2 to 15-6. With this second-half slide, Severino’s position in the AL Cy Young race has taken a nosedive.

Between Bauer’s injury and Severino’s poor performance, the perfect storm has begun to brew, leaving the path for Chris Sale to become the lead horse in the race. Without Bauer’s injury, we were likely to see a two-man race for the award. However, Sale now becomes the front-runner, possibly even gaining an inside track to become the AL MVP as well, a feat last achieved by a pitcher in 2011 when Justin Verlander took home both awards.

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