Cole, Ray making final Cy bids in Toronto

September 29th, 2021

There's a lot on the line over the next two days in Toronto -- even more than a playoff spot.

The next two games of the Yankees-Blue Jays series could also decide the American League Cy Young Award race.

New York's and Toronto's are the frontrunners to win the award, and they take the mound on consecutive days. Cole pitches Wednesday; Ray will pitch Thursday's series finale.

Whichever ace pitches best on the biggest stage of the regular season, with a postseason berth up for grabs for both clubs, could make the difference for Cole or Ray taking home their first career Cy Young Award.

Here's how the two pitchers stack up heading into what could be their final start of the season.

Cole: 29 starts, 175 1/3 IP, 16-8, 3.08 ERA, 237 K, 5.3 WAR
Ray: 31 starts, 188 IP, 13-6, 2.68 ERA, 244 K, 4.4 WAR

Cole leads the league in wins, WAR, strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.78) and complete games (two). Ray leads the league in ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched and WHIP (1.037).

Both have gotten Cy Young votes in the past; neither has won. Cole has been in the top five of AL voting the last three years, and he was the runner-up in 2019. Ray finished seventh in NL voting while with the D-backs in 2017.

The 2021 race could still go either way. Cole and Ray have one more chance to turn in a season-defining performance against a rival contender with a stacked offense. Let's see what happens.