<h4>Too far to reach </h4>
White Sox center fielder Brian Anderson, a Canyon del Oro High School grad and ex-Arizona Wildcat, is unable to reach a grand slam home run by the Indians' Ryan Garko during the fifth inning Friday. Cleveland won 11-8.
Break down the numbers in the race for the National League Cy Young Award and you might find starting pitchers who have been more overpowering and relievers who have been more flawless.
But no one has been more prolific in the win column than has Brandon Webb, and with history as your barometer, his 22 (or perhaps 23) victories might be enough for the Diamondbacks right-hander to claim the second Cy Young of his career.
Wins always have held a certain allure to the baseball writers, who vote on the sport’s major awards, and an unusually large number in the category can sometimes make up for other deficiencies.
San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum has a lower ERA and more strikeouts, and Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge is gaining consideration for his spotless record in save situations.
But neither one has Webb’s victories, which could make all the difference.
“It’s hard to look past wins,” Diamondbacks right-hander Dan Haren said. “You look at the history of the Cy Young and if a guy wins 20 games – in Webby’s case, 22 – it’s hard to look past that regardless of what the other numbers are.”
At 22-7, Webb already is in elite company. He’s the league’s first pitcher since Dontrelle Willis in 2005 to reach 22 victories, a plateau that has been difficult to overcome in the voting, particularly for non-20-game winners.
Webb is set to pitch Saturday night at home against Colorado.
In the past 30 years, 33 pitchers have won at least 22 games and 19 of them won the Cy Young. Of the 14 who did not, only one lost to a pitcher with fewer than 20 wins.
That doesn’t bode well for Lincecum, who, despite his league-best 2.66 ERA, is 17-5. Lincecum is set to pitch Sunday.
No love for Ichiro?
SEATTLE – Ichiro Suzuki has matched Lou Gehrig’s record with his eighth season of at least 200 hits and 100 runs. But the outfielder apparently isn’t very liked in the Seattle clubhouse.
Things got so bad during this discouraging season that one player reportedly threatened to “knock out” Suzuki.
A “clubhouse insider” quoted in Thursday’s edition of The Seattle Times said, “I just can’t believe the number of guys who really dislike him. It got to a point early on when I thought they were going to get together and go after him.”
The story went on to say that coaches and then-manager John McLaren, who was fired June 19, intervened when one player was overheard talking about wanting to “knock him out.” A meeting was called to clear the air.
Suzuki did not comment on the story, but pitcher J.J. Putz said he doesn’t remember any such incident and said there was no meeting to talk about it.
“It’s very troubling if it was a player who said that,” Putz said. “Whoever said it is a coward.”
Suzuki scored his 100th run of the season in the third inning Friday against Oakland on Raul Ibañez’s RBI single. Suzuki, who has 209 hits, achieved the 200-hit, 100-run mark for the eighth straight year.
The Associated Press
Fox to air key MLB games
Fox hopes its Saturday-afternoon baseball will whip viewers around between various games that have playoff implications.
Starting at about 12:30 p.m. Tucson time, Fox will regionalize four games – Chicago Cubs-Milwaukee Brewers in 63 percent of U.S. households (including Tucson), Yankees-Red Sox (25 percent), Nationals-Phillies (7 percent) and Royals-Twins (4 percent).
TBS has all the first-round playoff games and the rights to any tiebreaker games, which could occur Monday or Tuesday.
Ex-Sun KJ spending probed
SACRAMENTO – A nonprofit run by mayoral candidate and former Phoenix Suns star Kevin Johnson used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car, federal investigators say.
The findings from an agency that oversees the grants were sent to federal prosecutors and listed in a letter to Johnson dated Wednesday that also says he will be prohibited from receiving federal money while the investigation is under way. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Friday.
Johnson’s campaign said he will appeal the decision.
The Associated Press
DENVER – Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway is engaged to a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader.
The two-time Super Bowl winner proposed to Paige Green, 41, during a trip to Italy last week.
Elway, 48, was previously married to Janet Elway for 18 years. They have four children.
The Associated Press
'No sir, not a thing.'
Diminutive Oregon State tailback, responding to a reporter who asked if he received a call, visit or even a form letter from USC recruiters. Rodgers ran for 186 yards in 37 carries and two touchdowns in a 27-21 upset win over USC.
ON THIS DATE
1950: Ezzard Charles wins a unanimous 15-round decision over Joe Louis at Yankee Stadium to retain the world heavyweight title.
1998: Mark McGwire gives baseball a new magic number, hitting two homers to reach No. 70 in the St. Louis Cardinals’ finale vs. Montreal.
2003: B.J. Symons of Texas Tech throws for 661 yards – a school and Big 12 record – and six TDs, in a 49-45 win over Mississippi.
Stoops, staff lauded for recruiting success
• Mike Stoops must not lose Adam Hall to USC, and he can make his case by beating the Trojans on Oct. 25. LOUMAR G.
• Southern California is like the media capital of the West, and Tucson . . . is not a media center. That enhances the USC recruiting advantage. You have to give Stoops and his staff credit for doing a pretty good recruiting job, considering our record. DAVE S.
• It is good that the defensive back depth is there for UA. We may need to dip into that before the season is over. This is what good, solid recruiting does – provide even some of your best recruits (Matt Scott, Robert Golden) time to make the transition. DOUG B.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Games ahead the Mets would be in the NL East if this season’s games had ended after eight innings.
Team Record Pct GB
N.Y. Mets 91-68 .572 —
Philadelphia 83-76 .522 8.0
Florida 82-76 .519 8.5
Atlanta 72-87 .453 19.0
Washington 59-99 .373 31.5
When was the last year the Pittsburgh Pirates posted a winning record?
Answer: In 1992, when they finished first in the NL East at 96-66, after which Barry Bonds left to play for the San Francisco Giants.