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Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw captures NL Cy Young Award

Nov 17, 2011, 2:07 PM EDT

kershaw getty wide Getty Images

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Thursday that Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has been voted the National League Cy Young Award winner for 2011.

Kershaw, 23, registered a sparkling 2.28 ERA in 33 starts this year, striking out 248 batters and walking only 54 across 233 1/3 innings. He snagged 27 of 32 possible first-place votes to win it handily.

Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay, who had a 2.35 ERA, 220/35 K/BB ratio in 233 2/3 innings this season, finished second with four first-place votes, 21 second-place votes and seven third-place votes.

Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, who posted a 2.40 ERA and 238/42 K/BB ratio in 232 2/3 innings, finished third in the balloting with five second-place votes, 17 third-place and nine fourth-place votes.

Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy (2.88 ERA, 198/55 K/BB ratio in 222 innings) finished fourth with one first-place vote, three second-place votes, six third-place votes and 18 fourth-place votes. He was the only candidate other than Kershaw and Hallday to get a first-place nod. Let the outrage begin. put together this snazzy Kershaw retrospective, featuring a wonderful amount of Vin Scully.

  1. djpostl - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    “Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy was the only pitcher besides Kershaw and Halladay to get a first-place vote.”

    somebody needs to have their voting privs revoked.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      That’s bad, but nowhere close to the worst rogue first place vote ever. Try this one:

      In 1980, George Brett hit .390/.454/.664 with a 203 OPS+, 23 HR and 118 RBIs. He didn’t win unanimously, likely because he was limited to 117 games. Reggie Jackson, Willie Wilson and Goose Gossage also got first place votes (Gossage and Wilson were pretty silly choices, but they did both have excellent seasons).

      Also getting a first place vote was Yankees catcher Rick Cerrone. Rick hit .277/.321/.432 with 14 home runs and 85 RBIs, a 107 OPS+ and 3.9 WAR.
      One voter compared Brett’s .390 average, more than an RBI per game and 9.6 WAR to Rick Cerrone and said “Cerrone was more valuable”.

      Now *that* is a writer who needed his voting privileges revoked!

  2. cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I think this is a good pick, but you have to gives some votes to Halladay and Lee. the only reason Kershaw gets it is the teams the guys played on. What a difference playing for the Phills or the Dodgers. He did a great job for a very poor team, whil you might expect Halladay and Lee to excel with the Phills.

    • Alex K - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      How do their teammates effect thier expected performance? Unless you are talking about the way the team’s defense and how it relates to a pitcher’s ERA or how the offense impacts te W-L record.

      Kershaw was expected to be good this year because he is really good at pitching.

      • cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:52 PM

        Really? And how can a guy win, when his teammates don’t drive in runs and/or he loses because of lousy relief pitching or a closer who blows a save in the ninth time and time again? You are not considering all the factors involved here. If it were up to the pitcher alone, then he would have to throw a complete game all the time and shut out the other side. Who does that? A pitcher must have runs to win, and few errors so that he doesn’t take a loss on unearned runs. If the team he pitches for doesn’t do all of the above, why did Lee move out of Texas to Philly? He probably thought he could get more support from the Phills than from thr Rangers, and made the Phills pay for it.

        One more thing. If all that doesn’t matter, WHY did Greinke get the Cy in KC, when he clearly did not have the most wins? The team he pitched for was a loser just as the Dodgers were in 2011. He did not have the wins other guys had but there were other factors in deciding the award.

      • Alex K - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        I don’t understand what you are saying.

        Bottom line- Kershaw is a great pitcher. I would expect him to be a great pitcher no matter what team he played for. Halladay and Lee are also great pitchers and I would expect them to be great no matter who their teammates were.

        About Greinke- He was the best pitcher in the American League when he won the Cy Young. I don’t care one lick about a pitcher’s W-L record, they have no control on how their teammates hit. In fact, I would have no problem with a guy that goes 0-33 winning the Cy Young if they were the best pitcher in the league.

      • jrosas55 - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        hes a really good pitcher and would be a great pitcher if his team scored more runs, like the phillies or yankees. At the end of the day it is a team sport and your team has to score runs for you to win. right. with that said for him to have the wins he had and considering how many 2-1 1-0 games he might of lost along the season. well deserved. a pitcher cant throw a shutout every 5 days, regardless of who you are and what team you play for. alex u never played ball. go scrub the dirt of my cleats.

      • dwil12 - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:15 PM


        your response makes no sense because you contradict yourself. if W/L doesnt matter than why does a players team matter? it doesnt. if your a great pitcher and put up great numbers than you win regardless of what the pitchers record is. same reason why felix won the cy young on a terrible team. your team behind you pretty much means nothing when it comes to the cy young.

      • cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 6:51 PM


        Define “the best pitcher in the league”. I recall the season. he didn’t win many games after the All Star break. Most of the votes came because of his first half results and the fact that he pitched for the Royals. I can look ip up, but from memory there were some who felt for the entire season, he was NOT the best.

      • Alex K - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:03 AM

        Pitcher wins don’t matter. The pitcher can’t control how his offense hits. Why would you judge a player on something that he has zero control over?

        Best pitcher in the league is the guy who pitches the best no matter what his teammates do. That means on offense and defense.

        Also, jrosas55, I’ve got better things to than clean your cleats. But thanks for the offer. Maybe you could try and not be a dick next time you have something to say?

      • Alex K - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:09 AM

        Also, jrosas55, do you think that a pitcher can’t be great unless his team hits well? If so, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

    • oikosjeremy - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      Can you elaborate? What matters here isn’t whether a team is “good”, what matters is specific features of the team and the park and division it plays in. For instance, playing with the Dodgers means that Kershaw pitches half his games in a pitcher’s park, and gets to pitch a lot against two terrible offensive teams (Giants and Padres). On the other hand, the Phillies are a pretty good defensive team, which helps their pitchers’ results (don’t really know much about the Dodgers defense). But a lot of what makes the Dodgers mediocre or the Phillies good is totally irrelevant to how Kershaw, Halladay, and Lee pitched.

  3. Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Lee should have got it. But I don’t really care anyway.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Thumbs down without an argument? Weak sauce.

      • lanflfan - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        Lee had an off season, by his impressive standards. Halladay had a great season, but Kershaw’s was just better.

      • ace19428 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:21 PM

        Lee was 5-0 in both June and August, meaning he was 7-8 for the months of April, May, July and September.

        Weak sauce, indeed. You’re delusional, thinking Lee should have gotten it. At best, Lee is a #3 on his own team.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 9:01 AM

        Ace, that has more to do with losing games by one run because the offense wasn’t scoring runs for Lee. So using W/L records is your way of gauging a pitchers performance? And you have room to trash me for my reasons? Wins don’t tell the story of the game pitched, it’s probably the worst number to judge pitching quality actually, Weak sauce indeed..

    • cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      I would have given it to Halladay rather than Lee if not Kershaw, although it may be just a personal preference. Lee I think, had too many blow outs.

  4. uyf1950 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Well deserved.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM

      I agree, all the top 3 candidates deserved to be in the top 3, as they were all stellar. I may have had a difference in the order from 1-3 but it’s too close to bitch about really.

  5. uyf1950 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Just a side note. As a 1st year arbitration eligible player that CY Young probably just cost the Dodgers and extra $2M.

  6. phukyouk - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Very well deserved. I would have thought it would have been a little closer between Kershaw and Doc but the right guy won.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      Neither had 6 complete game shut outs. Not even close. Neither hit any home runs either.

      When I think Cy Young, the real Cy Young. I think Complete game shut outs. I think hitting.

      • phukyouk - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        come on J5… hitting? that has nothing to with Cy Young. 5 CG and 2 SO’s not to mention that he was dominant all season long. does “not even close” meaning that Lee blew him away?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        No, Kershaw was nowhere close to 6 complete game shut outs is what I meant. And Cy Young was known to swing the bat some.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:26 PM

        I’m not trying to take anything away from Kershaw, he was awesome. I’m just slightly more impressed by Lee. The other stats are sooo close it’s sick. Innings pitched were off by one inning. Lee Walked 12 less batters, and had those complete game shut outs. SIX OF THEM.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        Jonny 5 – I would think that you would be more impressed with Kershaw. He won what is the pitchers equivalent of the Triple Crown and all that at only 23 years of age. Just for reference Lee had 11 games where he gave up 3 or more runs. Kershaw 8. Anyway not a significant difference between the 2 pitchers but I do think the voters got it right, and that’s not always the case.

      • tastybasslines - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        Alot of his wins too came at 1-0 or 2-1…making it even more impressive. Lee had the Phillies lineup…Kershaw had Kemp and Ethier for a little bit only.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        Clayton Kershaw was just slightly better than Lee in most categories besides complete game shut outs and walks, Lee beat him in those categories pretty easily. Complete game shut outs by a pitcher are very rare today, and having six for an entire team is basically unheard of anymore. Check it out, what entire team had close to that many complete game shut outs last year? Cy Young was also known to throw complete game shut outs at an astounding rate. He was also known to be a pretty good hitter for being a pitcher, and Lee showed he’s a bit better there too. I pick Lee for this award because he more closely emulated the actual man Cy-Young better than anyone else did last season. Kershaw was awesome, as was Roy. But for the Cy Young award I choose Lee, for the above reasons.

      • lanflfan - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:57 PM


        Your views on the Cy Young Award are pretty extreme. The award was named after him to honor his memory and sound better than the generic “Pitcher of the Year”. In the Cy Young criteria, I don’t believe CG’s and Shuouts are mentioned as the only or key factors.

        Lee had an off year, by his own high standards. Eight losses was probably too many, even given his other impressive numbers.

        Obviously you know and care about the history of the game (something far too few MLB players and fans do), but you come off sounding like a disgruntled Philly/Cliff Lee fan.

  7. paulsdamnblog - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Good for him. Guy had a great year on a bad team, and a worse front office situation. He earned it.

  8. dbsandgbs98 - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Based on the season, the top four are correct. Order looks like a straight stat comparison.

    Regarding questions how a team affects a pitchers performance, if he is a ground ball / pop up pitcher, he depends 100% on his team’s defense. If he is a strikeout pitcher, he depends a lot less. An excellent pitcher that induces ground balls but has a defense that commits 3 errors a game is going to end up giving up runs (unearned but still runs) that will ruin shutouts and W-L records. It will show up in his stats.

    • Alex K - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      The real question is why would someone not expect Kershaw to have a good year because of his team. Kershaw is really good at pitching. He’s going to be really good at pitching no matter what team he is on.

      There are stats available that help normalize they effects of team defense on pitching.

  9. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    How did he capture it exactly? Did he use a net? Photography? Maybe a Pokeball?

  10. jimeejohnson - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    The last two years, the Phillies did not capitalize on their superior starting pitching, and BLEW 2 great chances to win it all. Most teams would have been content to have made it as far as the Phillies did, but it was as HUGE a letdown in Philadelphia as it was in Boston. Will Roy Halladay ever get a ring?

  11. jrosas55 - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    People leave the dummest comments thinking they know the game, when they really dont know nothing on how the game is played. if you go to all managers in baseball and ask who should win it most would say Kershaw for reasons that people who dont play or ever played wouldnt know.

    • jdillydawg - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      Enlighten me. What would the managers say?

      Your comment couldn’t be more vague if you tried, which might lead people to believe that you don’t know what you’re talking about either.

      • jrosas55 - Nov 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM

        as a dodger fan u say are, as myself how is my comment vague??? who are the voters u me mlb? doesnt matter i could care less. If it were the coaches decision in mlb to decide who wins the cy young, just like mangers have a vote on the last players to make an all star team, and they had to pick a player to win it. who would you pick? it doesnt happen that way but im pretty sure most would pick Kershaw.

  12. jdillydawg - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Awesome. As a Dodger fan watching the farce that unfolded earlier this year with McCourt and the team’s finances, it’s great to see Kershaw get the Cy Young. If Kemp wins the MVP, that would be sweet too.

    There is a ton of value in that franchise and McCourt nearly destroyed it all. I’m glad the Occupy Chavez Ravine protest worked out and they got him the Hell out.

  13. foreverchipper10 - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Wait, wait, wait. So far the people who should have won ROY did. The people who should have won the Cy did. The manger of the year….well, yes probably that too (esp Gibson). What is happening here? The people who should win don’t always win! This year it is happening! AHHHHH!!!!

    • haggertyb - Nov 17, 2011 at 7:05 PM

      With the stats being so close, I would’ve voted for Halladay since Kershaw’s home park is a pitchers park.

  14. Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Ianflfan, Not disgruntled in the least bit actually. Im glad for Kershaw actually, he seems like a good guy and plays for a team that deserves something good to happen to them for a change. I am blown away by the cg shut outs though. Overall Kershaw was a bit better, but not enough to negate those spectacular flashes of perfection known as the cg shut out. For me anyway. I wouldn’t argue my point though, as I realize it’s not the typical fashion of deciding the cy young. But this season it’s close enough that those shut outs matter to me and count as a +. Plus Kershaw gets to pitch in pitchers paradise, as opposed to cbp.

    • thewo2 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:21 PM

      I guess with your think of a pitchers paradise in LA then Matt Kemp should be a unanimous winner of the MVP with the numbers he put up this year.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:15 AM

        Well. yes.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

        Don’t you think he should win it?

  15. ace19428 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    ” the only reason Kershaw gets it is the teams the guys played on. What a difference playing for the Phills or the Dodgers. He did a great job for a very poor team, whil you might expect Halladay and Lee to excel with the Phills”

    Cintiphil is delusional. Imagine what Kershaw’s record might have been if he had been on a team with 102 wins instead of 82 wins like the Dodgers.

    And Jonny 5 is too fascinated with the cg shutouts by Cliff Lee to admit that Lee had some very ordinary, very pedestrian stretches this year. So no way does Lee really even come close.

    These guys are Phillies fans of the new era, whining just like Yankee fans when their player doesn’t get the award and is beaten out by a better, more deserving player.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

      Ace, I don’t think you know me. I don’t really care about these awards much (as they are all too subjective to opinion instead of fact). I was giving my opinion even though it isn’t the popular one, and I explained it. If you look there aren’t any clear cut rules for voting here, as well as HOF voting, or any other baseball awards for that matter. So I based my vote on my perception of what the award means to me. If that’s a problem, and it isn’t right, then maybe MLB should make it all more clear to everyone what parameters should be used and which ones shouldn’t. It’s all to vague and it’s all up to a person’s perception of what the award stands for. In my mind Cy-Young equals one bad ass pitcher and nothing says that better than CG shutouts, six of them, when no other entire pitching staff can even come close to it. I’m not whining, i’m just explaining why I think this way (I honestly don’t care who gets the trinket for their shelf). Until MLB lays out what voting criteria is most important you’ll see varying opinions on who should win for a plethora of reasons. And I think they probably should.

  16. cup0pizza - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Nice! Well deserved.

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