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Clayton Kershaw will earn the pitching Triple Crown

Sep 25, 2011, 7:38 PM EDT

Clayton Kershaw Getty Images

The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw furthered his Cy Young case on Sunday by allowing two runs over 7 1/3 innings and beating the Padres in his final start of the year.

Kershaw tied Ian Kennedy, who made his last start Saturday, for the NL lead with 21 wins.

Justin Verlander has 24 wins in the AL, so this is the first year since 2005 that at least three starters have won 21 games.

Already the NL leader in ERA and strikeouts, Kershaw virtually clinched the pitching Triple Crown today.  He ends the year with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts.  Roy Halladay also started today and pitched six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 2.41 to 2.35.  Cliff Lee, who has a 2.38 ERA going into his start against the Braves on Monday, would have to pitch at least 10 2/3 scoreless innings or strike out at least 17 batters to deny Kershaw titles in either category.  While a 17-strikeout game for Lee wouldn’t be an impossible under normal circumstances, there’s no way he’s getting there while on a pitch count in his final start before the NLDS.

That pitching Triple Crown figures to notch Kershaw the Cy Young Award, whether it’s truly deserved or not.  There are strong cases for Halladay and Lee as well, especially since both pitch in a better ballpark for hitters, but even after digging into the deeper stats, Kershaw still fares quite well.

  1. shawnuel - Sep 25, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    They all deserve it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the first 3-way tie in history. Of course it won’t happen. I don’t think anyone can really complain in this instance, regardless of who wins. Excellent performances by all three. Kemp is hurt somewhat by the ballpark that helps Kershaw, so I hope he wins MVP.

  2. dailyrev - Sep 25, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    the kid has clearly earned it, one of two bright spots in a dark season for Divorce Mcourt. Remarkable thing is that he’s likely to get better. And if they can find/buy a LH power bat (Prince?) to put behind Kemp in the order next year, Kemp is going to be even more of a terror for NL pitchers. So this is a team whose future could be very bright if (and this is a huge IF) there is competent mgt. done during the hot stove season.

  3. sawxalicious - Sep 26, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Let’s not forget abot Verlander…There may be 2 pitching triple crowns this year…Jered Weaver has 1 more start-Verlander leads him in ERA, 2.40 – 2.41…gonna be close.

  4. bigleagues - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Kershaw has been excellent, but best pitcher in the game is a tad too strong.

    He had the pleasure of facing the two worst offensive teams in the NL (who also happen to be in the NL West). Kershaw was 7-0, 1.20 ERA in 60 IP against the Giants and Padres.

    That’s a 1/3 of Wins and .36 on his ERA.

    To his credit he pitched well against the Diamondbacks (3-1, 1.42 ERA, 25 1/3 IP over 4 Starts), yet he was hit hard by the Rockies (1-1, 5.30 ERA, 18 1/3 IP over 3 Starts) – which are two of the best offensive teams in the NL.

    Certainly ONE of the best in the NL and all of MLB – but not THE best pitcher in the game – not yet anyway, but at still only 23 – it may not be long.

    • paperlions - Sep 26, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      Add to that pitching in the Dodger Stadium while the others with great seasons have pitched in the more neutral Citizen’s Bank…..and it isn’t clear that Kershaw, while awesome, has been the best pitcher this year.

    • Utley's Hair - Sep 26, 2011 at 8:10 AM

      “More neutral” isn’t really an accurate description for the Bank. It has always been described as a bandbox and a hitter’s park. Any “neutralization” would have been accomplished by those pitchers.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 26, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    There is more intrigue with the 2nd and 3rd seeds in BOTH leagues the next 3 days than anybody is talking about. I’m not sure how the tiebreakers work, but by AZ continuing to win, they are creating a scenario where, if the Bravos can avoid choking, AZ would possibly play them in the NLDS instead of coming out to Philly. If they finish ahead of the Brewers, then it will set up a pretty good NLDS with Phillies-Brewers. Next 3 days will decide that.

    Then there is the AL…Rangers are a game ahead of the Verlanders and if they remain ahead of them, they will get Rays/Red Sox while the Yankees will get the Verlanders. And the collective panic in the streets of the Bronx can ensue until Granderson hits a 2-run bomb off him in the first inning of game 1 while CC shuts the door on the Verlanders and it’s a clean sweep. But, if the Verlanders can pass the Rangers, the Yankees will get the easy Rangers, who as you may know, do not have Verlander. In that scenario, the Verlanders will get the Rays/Red Sox winner.

    So there are about 8 series that are affecting the playoffs in the next 3 days. Should be a fun 3 days.

    My predictions…

    AZ – Phillies
    Braves – Brewers

    Rays – Rangers
    Verlanders – Yankees

  6. Phillies Homer - Sep 26, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    The way this guy has pitched this year… it is well deserved. Which means:

    Kershaw gets the Cy Young and Kemp gets the MVP!?!? All in the year with so much negativity facing the Dodgers. Kudos to these two guys to not lose their focus and have easily the best years of their young careers.

  7. mojosmagic - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Doc is Cy Young. End of story.

  8. foreverchipper10 - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    While Halladay, Lee and even Ian Kennedy (who is never even mentioned) had great years it HAS to be Kershaw. To try and take away from what he has done because “he plays in a weak division” means that maybe Kirk Gibson shouldn’t be manager of the year because he plays against weak teams so it was easy to win the division. The only people clamoring for anyone but Kershaw are Phils fans who cannot admit that someone not on their team may have had a better season. Get over it. Your team is still the number one seed going into the playoffs.

    • bigleagues - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM

      I’m not a Phillies fan. I recognize how well Kershaw has pitched and have no doubt he would have excelled if he had to pitch in a different division. But the voters can and do look at things like divisional opponents.

      If he wins the Triple Crown that’s something that no one will ever be able to take away from him – however that, accomplishment, by default, does not mean he is automatically the Cy Young Award winner.

      Halladay gets my vote (if I had one).

  9. dihigosghost - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Cliff Lee has an ERA of 1.94 pitching at home this year and 3.03 on the road. In 8 years at Cleveland he had an ERA of 4.01, in 2 years in Philly he has an ERA of 2.64. In 2010 he had an ERA of 2.34 at Seattle and 3.98 at Texas for a combined ERA of 3.18. It would seem that Cliff Lee pitches much better at Citizens Bank Park and in the NL East.

  10. sasquash20 - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    I hate saying this being a Phillies fan but Kershaw should be the CY award winner. Maybe if Doc and Lee got a few more wins(and had the Phils not locked up so early they would have) then you could argue. But the fact is Kershaw was the best pitcher in the national league this year. He has a better era, more strikeouts, just as many innings. He gave up more walks, but had less hits against him. I don’t want to hear that he faces this team or that team, you play who you play. Doc tore up the Marlins and the Nats last year during his NL CY season. As a national league fan I’m happy to see that the NL is full of quality pitchers. Also have to give mad props to Verlander, By far the best pitcher in baseball this season.

  11. dihigosghost - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Roy Halladay in ten years at Toronto had an ERA of 3.43, he has an ERA of 2.40 in two years in Philly. Roy Oswalt had an ERA of 3.24 in ten years with Houston, he has an ERA of 3.05 in two years at Philly. It looks like both Halladay and Oswalt are much better pitchers in the Citizens Bank Park, NL East atmosphere.

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