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Your bi-weekly Jose Alvarez/Chris Bootcheck update: Can there be co-Cy Young winners?

(Toledo Blade)

(Toledo Blade)

The mysteries behind Jose Alvarez, the International Pitcher of Mystery, are slowly revealing themselves. How he works, isn’t.

Two weeks ago we were left with to question whether Alvarez had conned us into thinking he was good pitcher and giving him the third most prestigious award on the internet. After these two weeks, we found our answer.

We aren’t some of the many broken hearts Alvarez left in his wake. He’s just good.

Alvarez pitched three times since we last met. His line: 18 IP, 2 earned runs, 16 strikeouts, 4 walks.

Sunday, he went eight innings giving up just one earned run and striking out six in Norfolk against the Tides. I didn’t watch it (too busy calculating the average amount of penalty minutes Kelly Sutherland awards per game), but I know that  performance in Harbor Park — which every one knows is a hitter’s ballpark — in front of the Mr. Toad’s Wild Tides fan club, against the Tides’ slaughterhouse of a lineup featuring all-time greats like Russ Canzler, Danny Valencia and Lew “Model T” Ford, is going to be a performance that both fans of the International League will talk about for a long time. No con-man pitcher could do that and get away with it.

As that mystery solved itself, two others solutions were posted online. We have confirmation on what Alvarez looks like. Toledo updated his profile page:

Capture

That’s a look of intimidation. Or constipation. Either way, it’s striking fear into somebody.

And, after an exhaustive study of Alvarez’s stubble patterns, I am fairly certain that the bag guarder is indeed Alvarez after a few more days of not shaving.

The International Pitcher of Mystery’s past is crystallizing.  He’s not just a two-time winner of the best changeup in the Marlins farm system. According to his Mud Hens page, Alvarez is also a 2009 New York-Penn League All Star, a 2011 Florida State League All Star, the Southern League pitcher for the week of June 17, 2012.These newfound accolades led to some question to whether Alvarez should have been eligible for the James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by (get at me Videxio) in the first place.

Our oversight board reviewed the case and, on the grounds that the JMMA is actually a step up in prestige from the Southern League pitcher of the week, Alvarez maintains eligibility.

One part of Alvarez’s story, however, appears to remain a mystery. Nemesis James Schmehl is yet to respond regarding Alvarez’s mysterious shoulder surgery.

********

After reading about Alvarez’s obliteration of International League batters for three games now, you may be considering him for the Cy Young award. But as much as I love Alvarez, he’s not even the favorite.

That would be Chris Bootcheck.

Now a starter, Bootcheck went a mere 14 innings without giving up a run to start the season. When he did, in the fifth inning of his last start, his Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders were already up by four runs. They would go on to win, 8-1. The only thing that’s been able to stop Bootcheck is the weather. The Railriders last two games have been postponed, leaving Bootcheck with just three starts on the season and 0.50 ERA.

If what he did last year was Bootchecking, I don’t know what to call this.

How much longer does he have to continue this for the Yankees to call him up? They can’t ignore a 0.50 ERA forever. Venerable newspapers like the Scranton Times Leader will make sure of that.

Until the trip to New York comes, one test awaits before another likely Triple-A All Star game appearance.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre heads to Toledo on May 14 for a four-game series.

Bootcheck might have pitch against Jose Alvarez. The past and present James Mungro Memorial Award winners might have to go pitch for pitch. It might turn into the first dueling perfect games through nine innings in International League history. And, if it happens, I just might have to find a way to be in attendance.

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