When Clayton Kershaw was snubbed out of the National League Cy Young Award last year there were a lot of upset Dodger fans, and rightfully so. Face it, when you have the best earned run average in the league for the (then) second year in a row (now third), have the best WHIP and are second in the league in strikeouts (by one), you deserve the Cy Young Award – period. But as they have done countless times in the past, the seeming make-the-rules-up-as-you-go-along Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) chose to look no further than the win-loss record and gave the 2012 NL Cy Young to R.A. Dickey.
Now this isn’t to say that Dickey didn’t have a great season as he most certainly did, but the BBWAA did a flip-flop on what they did in 2011 when they awarded the NL MVP Award to the cheating Ryan Braun over the far more deserving Matt Kemp simply because Braun was on a playoff bound team and Kemp was not – this in spite of Kemp’s overwhelmingly superior numbers across the board. Granted, Kershaw and the Dodgers didn’t make the playoffs either in 2012, but they finished the season in second place in the NL West with an 86-76 record (.571) and missed the final NL Wild Card spot by one game; whereas Dickey’s New York Mets finished the season with a dismal 74-88 record (.457) in fourth place 24 games behind the 2012 NL East Division-winning Washington Nationals. Talk about a double standard.
Although I have very little faith in the competency of the BBWAA (heck, they couldn’t even pick one Hall of Famer last year), I simply cannot imagine in my wildest dreams that they will screw up this year’s NL Cy Young Award, but then again, we are talking about the BBWAA here.
After shutting out the San Diego Padres in what was probably his second to last start of the 2013 season, Kershaw undoubtedly locked up his second NL Cy Young Award in three years (which should be three in a row). Kershaw completely shut down a recently surging Padres offense by allowing only three hits while walking two and striking out 10 in his seven innings of work, en route to his 15th win of the season (against an un-Kershaw-like nine losses). In doing so, he lowered his league-leading ERA to a near-historic 1.88 and his 10 strikeouts now give him a National League best 224, fifteen more than his nearest competition. In fact, in his six big league seasons, Kershaw has more than 200 strikeouts in all but two of them.
In all fairness, there is little doubt that the Mets Matt Harvey, the Marlins Jose Fernandez and even Kershaw’s teammate Zack Greinke will probably pick up a few NL Cy Young votes, but the hands down winner is Clayton Kershaw.