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Lincecum rising on Cy Young short list

Lincecum rising on Cy Young short list
A month ago, the NL Cy Young Award was Brandon Webb's to lose.

And right now he's on his way to doing just that.

Webb has stumbled.

MLB roundup

Thursday's action

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  • Harden looks sharp for Cubs
  • Red-hot Jays down ChiSox
  • Oswalt goes distance for Astros
  • Rockies double up Braves
  • Orioles pick up rare victory
  • Howard hits 43rd HR for Phils
  • Pads have rare offensive outburst
  • Blalock homers, Rangers roll
  • K-Rod joins Thigpen on saves list

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San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum hasn't.

Lincecum keeps defying odds, proving he is the exception to that rule about sub-6-foot right-handers, and establishing himself as one of the most dominating pitchers in the game.

Lingering on the edge of the voting debate is Milwaukee lefthander CC Sabathia.

A month ago, Webb seemed poised to challenge the 25-win total, a level no big-league pitcher has reached since Bob Welch won 27 games with the 1990 Oakland A's. Next thing he knew, he was battling to win 20.

Webb goes into Friday not having merely failed in his first three attempts to No. 20, but having been battered. Included were two losses to the Dodgers, which helped Los Angeles move ahead of the Diamondbacks in the NL West.

He's given up 19 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings. He's allowed 22 hits and walked 12. His ERA has risen from 2.74 to 3.41. And there are growing concerns about a residual effect from Webb taking a line drive off the bat of San Diego third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff in the chest on Aug. 21, when he won No. 19.

Webb says he feels fine, but scouts question that. They say he appears hesitant to finish off his pitches, keeping the sinker from sinking.

Lincecum, meanwhile, just keeps on winning for a team that struggles to win. He is 16-3 for a team that went into Thursday 65-80, and in six of his 10 no-decisions he allowed two earned runs or fewer. His 16 wins -- one more than Sabathia's combined total with Cleveland and Milwaukee -- are tied for fifth in the majors. His 2.54 ERA leads the National League. His 225 strikeouts -- in 191 1/3 innings -- lead the majors.

It all puts Lincecum in position to join an exclusive club -- pitchers who were 13 games better than .500 on a team that was at least 13 games below .500, according to the Elias News Bureaus. Steve Carlton won the NL Cy Young when he went 27-10 for the 1972 Phillies (59-97). The other two were pre-Cy Young Award days -- Eddie Rommell, 27-13, with the 1922 Athletics (65-89) and Dazzy Vance, 22-9, for the 1925 Brooklyn Dodgers (68-85).

Keep track of

CUBS at Houston, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Houston is calling itself the Houston Rockies, and pointing to the late-season success of the Colorado Rockies that allowed them to win the NL pennant last year. The Astros went into Thursday tied for second place in the NL wild card, but only four games back of leader Milwaukee. They had won 13 of 14. The series against the Cubs marks the only games out of the Astros' final 21 that are against a team with a winning record. Are the Astros baseball's blessed team this year? Keeps tabs on Saturday's game for a clue. While Carlos Zambrano returns to the Cubs rotation, the Astros probable is Alberto Arias, a waiver claim from Colorado who is filling in for Brandon Backe and in his first big-league start on Monday worked five shutout innings for a win.

MILWAUKEE at Philadelphia, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They both sit in second place in their division, the Brewers also leading the wildcard with the Phillies No. 2 in those standings.

TAMPA BAY at New York Yankees, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Rays are clinging to the AL East division lead, but had to rally against Jonathan Papelbon for two runs in the ninth at Boston on Tuesday for only their second win in eight games. The Yankees are going to miss the postseason for the first time in over a decade, but it's still Yankee Stadium, which can intimidate a young team.

Did you know?

The Dodgers went into Thursday having won 10 of 11, including a weekend sweep of Arizona that put them atop the NL West. The hot stretch came on the heels of an eight-game losing streak. It also coincides with the absence of 2B Jeff Kent, who underwent knee surgery. For all the offense Kent may produce, he is a key part of the dysfunctional Dodger clubhouse.


Now that the Yankees have announced manager Joe Girardi will be back in 2009 (which is only the second year on the three-year, $7.5 million deal he signed), and Dave Tremble has been retained in Baltimore, when will Toronto decide that interim manager Cito Gaston has earned a full-season shot at running the club he took to back-to-back world championships in 1992-93? General manager J.P. Ricciardi is losing some of his power base. He was told to bring in former Blue Jays pitching coach and minor-league pitching coordinator Mel Queen to get an independent review of the shape of the Jays minor-league system. There is also talk that former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston could rejoin the franchise in a role to be determined. Beeston has maintained an office at the Rogers Center since resigning his post with Major League Baseball and returning to Toronto.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: September 11, 2008

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