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No change in Cy races, but debate rages on

MLB.com @RichardJustice

Remember when the biggest issue surrounding the 2018 Cy Young Awards was Jacob deGrom's win total? Has it really been two weeks since that was the subject of all those hot takes? Those were such simpler times.

Turns out, National League voters may end up having it easy compared to what's happening in the American League. At least in the NL, the issue is fairly straightforward: How much should a pitcher's win total count in the Cy Young Award voting?

Remember when the biggest issue surrounding the 2018 Cy Young Awards was Jacob deGrom's win total? Has it really been two weeks since that was the subject of all those hot takes? Those were such simpler times.

Turns out, National League voters may end up having it easy compared to what's happening in the American League. At least in the NL, the issue is fairly straightforward: How much should a pitcher's win total count in the Cy Young Award voting?

Some still believe it's a big deal. Far more acknowledge that wins are largely a function of time and place and that there are many better ways to assess a player's performance.

That's why deGrom, despite an 8-9 record, received 30 out of 33 first-place votes in MLB.com's final survey of our members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Max Scherzer received the other three first-place votes as the NL race clearly appears to be deGrom vs. Scherzer. Chris Sale led our poll for the fourth straight time and received 21 out of 34 first-place votes and got 131 points for a significant lead over Blake Snell (93 points) and Justin Verlander (61 points).

Snell had not finished higher than fifth in any of the previous surveys, but the combination of Sale's second stay on the disabled list and Snell's continued dominance prompted a shift.

And then there's Verlander. He leads the AL with 202 innings, 269 strikeouts and 32 starts. Sale has pitched 52 fewer innings and struck out 47 fewer hitters.

What's workload worth? Sale has made three starts and pitched nine innings since July 27 thanks to a cranky left shoulder that sent him to the DL twice.

Snell has pitched 14 more innings than Sale, and while he has been dominant, voters are going to have to factor in, not just Verlander's performance, but how to weigh his finishing at least six innings in 26 of 32 starts.

This month, as Sale has made two starts and pitched four total innings, Verlander has been at his best with three consecutive starts of seven innings, allowing four earned runs (1.71 ERA) and striking out 29 (12.4 per nine innings).

Here's a breakdown of the top three in each league:

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Jacob deGrom, Mets (153 points)
deGrom leads the Majors in WAR (8.0) and ERA (1.78). He trails only Sale in FIP (2.05) and has allowed three runs or fewer in 27 straight starts, the longest single-season streak in history. deGrom has pitched 22 consecutive quality starts, which ties him with Bob Gibson (1968) and Chris Carpenter (2005) for the longest streak in history. He has a 1.59 ERA against teams .500 or better. deGrom has nine starts of at least six innings and one or zero runs without getting a win. That's the most in history in a single season.

Video: NYM@BOS: deGrom K's Holt for his 250th K of the year

Max Scherzer, Nationals (101 points)
There has been so much focus on deGrom's win total that it has overshadowed the fact that Scherzer is having another incredible season and that he could join Roger Clemens (seven), Randy Johnson (five), Steve Carlton (four) and Greg Maddux (four) as the only pitchers with four Cy Young Awards. Scherzer leads the Majors in innings (206 2/3) and strikeouts (277), and he is third in ERA (2.53) and xFIP (3.10). He has pitched at least six innings in 28 of 31 starts and at least seven innings 17 times. Scherzer has 16 games of double-digit strikeouts.

Video: WSH@ATL: Scherzer strikes out Markakis swinging

Aaron Nola, Phillies (36 points)
Nola has 201 strikeouts and a 2.42 ERA and could become just the seventh Phillies pitcher to have 200 stakeouts and an ERA of 2.40 or better. In the past 50 years, only Roy Halladay (2011), Cliff Lee ('11) and Carlton (1972 and '80) have done it.

Video: WSH@PHI: Nola K's Rendon to end the frame

Others receiving votes: Kyle Freeland, Rockies; Patrick Corbin, D-backs

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Chris Sale, Red Sox (131 points)
Sale leads AL pitchers in Wins Above Replacement (6.2), ERA (1.92), strikeouts per nine innings (13.3) and strikeout percentage (38.3). He hasn't allowed a run in 32 innings and hasn't allowed a home run in 72 innings.

Video: NYM@BOS: Sale hurls 3 scoreless in shortened start

Blake Snell, Rays (93 points)
In 12 starts against the Red Sox (four), Yankees (three), Indians (two), Astros (two) and Athletics (one), Snell is 9-2 with a 2.00 ERA, including nine starts of allowing one earned run or fewer. He's 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA against the Red Sox, MLB's highest-scoring offense. No other pitcher has an ERA below 4.00 against Boston this season.

Video: Is Blake Snell the American League Cy Young favorite?

Justin Verlander, Astros (61 points)
Verlander struck out the first five D-backs he faced on Sunday, and with three straight dominant starts, he appears ready for the playoffs. He has pitched at least 200 innings for the 11th time in his career and leads the AL with 24 quality starts.

Video: Justin Verlander has been named AL Player of the Week

Others receiving votes: Trevor Bauer, Indians; Gerrit Cole, Astros; Corey Kluber, Indians

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Blake Snell, Justin Verlander