While it’s often said mockingly, James Shields stepped up on Sunday night and delivered a performance worthy of his nickname. The Royals No. 1 starter fired six innings of six-hit, two-run baseball, as the Royals closed out the Angels. Shields had predicted as much in the aftermath of the Royals improbable comeback victory in the Wildcard game.
Some 750 miles north and east, the Orioles finished of the Tigers, giving us our ALCS matchup. In the NLDS’, we’re guaranteed at least one game four, as the Dodgers and Cardinals have split the first two games of their series. The top seed in the NL is facing elimination this afternoon, with Madison Bumgarner donning the executioner’s mask for San Francisco. One could reasonably argue that this is game four of the Nationals/Giants series in light of the two full games they played on Saturday night, but we’ll leave that to the lawyers.
The winning pitchers in the clinching games were Bud Norris and James Shields, the highest scoring pitcher in the IBA’s AL Pitcher of the Year was David Price, the losing pitcher for Detroit, who put up a sparkling performance of his own. Shields checks in at 10th in the balloting, while Price is ranked fifth overall. Somehow, Bud Norris hasn’t earned a single vote, though his teammate Zach Britton did. C.J. Wilson, the starter in the Angels last game of the season, who lasted less than an inning, has also not received a vote. Don’t feel bad for him though, he’s got that Head & Shoulders money.
Unlike much of our other races, the AL Pitcher of the Year is a tight one at the top. Corey Kluber is currently in the lead by ~300 points. Kluber has a massive edge on second place Felix Hernandez in first place votes, with Hernandez attempting to make up ground by being included on 12 more ballots overall. The rest of the balloting is not as interesting, as Chris Sale is occupying third place, over 1,000 points back of Hernandez but over 1,000 points above fourth place Jon Lester.
See how the rest of the voting shakes out below. Remember, the IBA’s are not a static vote, and you can influence them by voting here.
AL Pitcher of the Year
AL Player of the Year
AL Rookie of the Year
AL Manager of the Year
NL Player of the Year
NL Pitcher of the Year
NL Rookie of the Year
NL Manager of the Year