Cy Gagne

As I explained last month, my usual suspicion of giving the Cy Young Award to a reliever is ameliorated by the relatively high workload of Eric Gagne (77 games, 82.1 IP — Gagne appeared in nearly half the Dodgers’ games, including 65 of their 85 victories) and by the low workloads of the leading NL starters, Mark Prior (30 starts, 211.1 IP), Jason Schmidt (29 starts, 207.2 IP), and Kevin Brown (32 starts, 211 IP). (Livan Hernandez pitched more but wasn’t as effective). And once you put Gagne on the table at all, his performance level was just so dominating in so many high-leverage situations that you have to give him the award. Consider: with the Dodgers locked in a tight wild card race, Gagne allowed a home run to Vladimir Guerrero on August 20 and this was the only run he allowed after the All-Star Break: 37 IP, 14 hits, 9 walks, 61 strikeouts and an 0.24 ERA. If you can’t give a man an award for that, when can you?