Red Sox Closer Craig Kimbrel Named AL Reliever Of The Month In May
Craig Kimbrel has been absolutely electric this season closing out games for the Boston Red Sox, especially in the month of May. In 12 appearances in May, he pitched 12.2 innings, giving up 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 25 batters. The one hit came on May 11th at Milwaukee. In that game he went 1.2 innings and earned the win as he closed out a 4-1 Red Sox win. In that game, he had an immaculate 9th inning as well.
This dominate month gave Craig Kimbrel the honor of being named AL reliever of the month. After a great month of April, where he gave up 2 runs in 11.1 innings, he raised it to another level in May. This is also a huge improvement over his mediocre 2016, where he was 31 for 33 in save opportunities with a 3.40 ERA in 53 innings.
Craig Kimbrel, Cy Young Winner?
Craig Kimbrel has been absolutely dominate this season. In 24 innings, he has a 0.75 ERA with 45 strike outs and an opponent batting average of .076. That is the type of pitching line you only see in a video game. It’s early in the season, but you might be able to make the argument that he could be the American League Cy Young award winner in 2017.
The last reliever to be named crowned the Cy Young winner for either league was Eric Gagne in 2003. In that season, Gagne was 2-3 in 77 appearances. He was perfect in 55 save opportunities. That was with a 1.20 ERA in 82.1 innings, with a batting average against of .133.
That was a great season from Gagne. Many people, especially in Boston, forget that he was one of the most dominate closer’s in the game during the early parts of the 2000’s. Craig Kimbrel is on pace to have a better season the Gagne did during his Cy Young season. You can put him in the category of being a Cy Young candidate, even ahead of Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale.
Will he win the Cy Young? I don’t know if he will. Many writers look at a pitcher that goes 200 innings that has 20 wins as a more valuable pitcher in the league. That will hurt Kimbrel in the end, but his numbers have been so dominate this season. You have to think he will be in the conversation to be the Cy Young winner in 2017.