It isn't the Most Valuable Pitcher award. It isn't the Which Pitcher Gets the Most Run Support award. It isn't the Living Legend award. It has nothing to do with team records, previous close calls, guest appearances on "The Simpsons" or most of the many other side issues people often want to attach to it.
It's about who has pitched the best. Period.
And even though we're beginning to wobble on this slightly -- as the win disparity between Carpenter and Clemens grows -- you'd still have a tough time convincing us that anybody on this planet has pitched better this year than Roger Clemens. Even that California Little League kid who struck out 18 in six innings.
"This is legendary, what Roger has done," Astros manager Phil Garner says. "Chris Carpenter has done a great job, and he's had a great year. But I don't know that people would say it was legendary."
Legendary. That's one powerful word. But it's also a word that stops us every time we think Carpenter has taken the lead in this Cy Young duel.