Is Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman still in the running for the AL Cy Young award?

With some of his recent struggles, has Kevin Gausman put himself out of the Cy Young conversation?
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Gausman
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Gausman / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages
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On Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays needed an important win over the Colorado Rockies to help keep pace in the tight playoff race in the American League. Things were looking optimistic as the Jays were sending their ace Kevin Gausman to the mound. However, by the time the fifth inning rolled around, Gausman was already out of the game after a less-than-stellar outing in one of their more crucial games of the year. Luckily in the end, the Jays still pulled off a 7-5 win to maintain pace with the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers.

Gausman’s performance has been typical in recent weeks since the All-Star break as he hasn’t appeared to be his dominant self for quite a while. As a result, has his chances of winning the AL Cy Young award this year taken a hit?

Here, we take a look at the arguments for and against Gausman’s Cy Young candidacy.

Why Gausman is still in the running

Despite some recent struggles, Gausman is still among the top 15 in the American League in multiple key pitching categories (stat, ranking in parentheses), including wins (10, 11th), ERA (3.39, 6th), WHIP (1.21, 11th), opponents batting average (.244, 10th), innings pitched (159.1, 9th), quality starts (17, 3rd), strikeouts (207, 1st), strikeouts per nine innings (11.69, 1st), and strikeouts/walk ratio (4.81, 4th). Strikeouts has been by far his most dominant statistic this season, as he has utilized his nasty splitter to perfection in achieving such a high whiff rate. He also joined Rogers Clemens and Roy Halladay in the record books in the process as the only Blue Jays pitchers in history with consecutive 200-strikeout seasons.

Moreover, he had been carrying the load as the team’s ace ever since his co-ace partner Alek Manoah bombed out for his 2023 season. Not only that, but he has been challenged all year by the fact that the Jays as a team were giving him the fewest run support per game, currently averaging less than 3.5 runs/game in which he pitches. In addition, he is leading the AL once again in BABIP, so if he had some better luck and support, he probably would have nailed down much more wins than he has to date.

Not too many pitchers in the league could provide the same effectiveness and consistency that Gausman has provided the Jays for the past couple of seasons, as he gave them a chance to win almost every time out. And with many other AL starting pitchers not having very strong seasons, Gausman definitely has a fair chance to still compete with the rest for the ultimate honours.