Roy Halladay got rocked tonight by the Rays, giving up 7 runs for the first time in several years. But he was merely continuing the trend of the last few days, when most of the major American League Cy Young contenders have been hit hard.

Yesterday Seattle’s Felix Hernandez gave up 6 runs in 6 innings (although luckily for him only 3 were earned) and ESPN’s Sunday night game had Boston’s Josh Beckett surrendering 8 earned runs in 8 innings. While also tonight Detroit’s Justin Verlander gave up 4 earned runs in only 5 2/3 innings.

Back in April and May, it seemed doubtful there would even be a Cy Young race. Kansas City’s Zack Greinke had one of the great starts in history with an ERA under 1.00 for weeks and multiple shutouts. Roy Halladay was the only other starter even remotely close to him, but both have rarely won in the last few months to allow Hernandez, Beckett and Verlander back in the race. The next tier of contenders would include the Yankees’ CC Sabathia, the Angels’ Jered Weaver and Detroit’s Edwin Jackson.

Building on a post a few days on the excellent Mariners Blog from the Seattle Times about the chances for Felix Hernandez to win the Cy Young, I developed a crude formula for ranking starting pitchers in the AL Cy Young chase. Note I only mentioned “starters”. I haven’t considered relievers, not that there are any serious reliever candidates this year anyway.

Geoff Baker’s point in the Mariners Blog post linked above was that a starter needs to finish in the top two in the league in either wins or ERA to have any hope of winning the Cy Young.  I considered a few other factors and weighted them out of a total of 20 points.

ERA – 7 points (35% of total weight)

Wins – 5 points (25% of the total)

Innings Pitched – 3 points (15%)

Complete Games – 2 points (10%)

Strikeouts – 2 points (10%)

Shutouts – 1 point (5%)

Total – 20 points (100%)

I then looked at the top 10 in the AL in each category and assigned 10 points to the leader in each category, 9 points to the guy in 2nd, 8 points to the guy in 3rd, etc. So for example, Zack Greinke continues to lead in ERA. He then gets 10 points multiplied by the ERA weight of 7 points for a total of 70 ranking points.

Through Sunday, August 23 (i.e., not including the Halladay and Verlander outings today), the top 10 in the AL under my system are:

1. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays 139 points

2. Zack Greinke, Royals 134 points

3. Felix Hernandez, Mariners 124 points

4. Justin Verlander, Tigers 113 points

5. CC Sabathia, Yankees 102 points

6. Josh Beckett, Red Sox 93.5 points

7. Jered Weaver, Angels 66 points

8. Edwin Jackson, Tigers 52 points

9. Jarrod Washburn, Tigers/Mariners 42 points

10. Scott Feldman, Rangers 37.5 points

That list looks about right so far. I’ll check tomorrow to see the impact of Halladay’s horror show and continue to monitor the standings over the final weeks of the season.

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