Luis Garcia delivers a solid start for the Astros, going seven innings and striking out five against the Red Sox
Luis Garcia produced a solid start for the Astros, going seven innings and striking out five Red Sox in Houston's 3-2 loss
Dylan Cease has never made an MLB All-Star team, and his snub this past week was arguably the most notable of the exhibition. But he's quietly making his case as the best pitcher in the American League.The White Sox ace spun another gem on Sunday, shutting out the Guardians across six innings to slash his ERA to 2.03 on the season. It also extended a ridiculous two-month stretch in which he's given up just three earned runs across his last 11 starts; only Bob Gibson (1968) has accomplished that.Spoiler alert: Gibson won the Cy Young Award that year. And Cease's odds of doing the same are shortening by the day. PLAYER ODDS Shane McClanahan +165 Justin Verlander +280 Shohei Ohtani +900 Dylan Cease +900 Gerrit Cole +1100 Alek Manoah +1700 Kevin Gausman +1900 Logan Gilbert +3000 Nestor Cortes +3200 Shane Bieber +3500 Framber Valdez +5000 Martin Perez +6500 Robbie Ray +8000 Michael Kopech +8500 Lucas Giolito +9000 Tarik Skubal +9000 Nathan Eovaldi +10000 Frankie Montas +10000 Luis Garcia +10000 Jose Berrios +15000 Noah Syndergaard +15000 Paul Blackburn +15000 Lance Lynn +20000 Jose Urquidy +20000 Zack Greinke +25000 Brad Keller +25000 Yusei Kikuchi +25000 Corey Kluber +25000 Eduardo Rodriguez +25000 Hyun-Jin Ryu +25000 Garrett Whitlock +25000 Marco Gonzalez +30000 Lance McCullers Jr. +30000 Chris Sale +30000 Jake Odorizzi +50000 The 26-year-old righty opened the season among the Cy Young favorites but saw his odds balloon in mid-May when he carried a 4.24 ERA through nine starts. After Sunday's shutout, he's tied for the third-shortest odds (+900) at Barstool Sportsbook to win the award - trailing only All-Star starter Shane McClanahan (+165) and two-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (+280).The race between Cease and McClanahan is particularly compelling when comparing their stat lines entering the week. They've each pitched an identical 110 2/3 innings as of Monday, with Cease needing two more games to hit that mark. They rank first and second in strikeouts per nine - Cease (12.5) slotting ahead of McClanahan (12) - while McClanahan's AL-best 1.71 ERA ranks just ahead of Cease's third-place mark (2.03).The difference has been command. Cease's walks per nine (3.98) ranks last among qualified starters in the AL, whereas McClanahan (1.55) ranks second-best in that metric. It's a key reason why the latter grades out far better via advanced stats like WIP (0.795), FIP (2.42), xERA (2.29), and SIERA (2.21) - ranking first or second in the AL in all four metrics.So, at this point, it only makes sense for the Rays' young flamethrower to pace the field, especially with a sterling 10-3 record in 18 starts. But if Cease keeps up this Gibson-like run over the second half of the season, he won't be a dark-horse candidate for much longer.C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at [email protected] © 2022 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.