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Clayton Kershaw may join some amazing but odd company

Sep 27, 2012, 4:46 PM EST

kershaw getty Getty Images

R.A. Dickey notched his 20th win of the season this afternoon, but in allowing three runs in 7.2 innings he fell from first to second among NL ERA leaders.

Clayton Kershaw now leads Dickey by the slimmest of margins, 2.68 to 2.69, which got me wondering if a reigning Cy Young winner had ever led the league in ERA and not won the award again.

Instead of trying to research that myself I lazily asked the question on Twitter and got a quick answer from none other than the official account for SABR (plus a more detailed reply from Dan “The Baseball Crank” McLaughlin).

Anyway, the answer is yes. Roger Clemens (twice), Sandy Koufax, and Tom Seaver all led leagues in ERA as reigning Cy Young winners and didn’t get the award. It’s worth noting that when Koufax failed to win in 1964 they only gave out one Cy Young award, rather than one per league.

So yeah … if Kershaw hangs onto the ERA lead he’ll join some pretty exclusive company because there’s seemingly no buzz for him as a top Cy Young candidate.

  1. El Bravo - Sep 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Quick someone look up how many Mets losing streaks Dickey ended this season that were greater than two games. I know there was a point in the season where the Mets only won games where R.A. started, thus he was named their losing streak killer. Now, compare that to the rest of the league’s pitchers this season. Seriously, someone figure out how to do that. I bet it is intriguing. I’ve got nonwork to do so I can’t look this up.

    • jasonwinter - Sep 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      With a quick search, I can see that 8 times Dickey got the W after the Mets had suffered a 2+ game losing streak. There might have been other cases where the Mets won after one of those streaks with Dickey pitching but not picking up the W.

      The July 8-25 stretch was especially brutal. The Mets were 1-12 over that span. Game #7 was the only win, started by Dickey.

      • El Bravo - Sep 27, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        Ah, thanks for that. 8 times is f@cking impressing b/c you know, the Mets blow pretty fantastically.

  2. yahmule - Sep 27, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    It should be noted, Kershaw has pitched through the painful foot condition plantar faciitis for most of the season and he still delivered another excellent performance this year.

    • natslady - Sep 27, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      I know Kershaw is a reliever, but he is scary. The game is literally only 8 innings. Fredi even brought him in when ATL was down 3-2, he delivered his inning and then they walked off. The next night he came in when it was 3-0 and “saved” that one, too. No one can touch him (well, he did give up a couple of homers but that seems like it was a LONG time ago).

      • pharmerbrown - Sep 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM

        Kershaw >>> Kimbrel

  3. frn27 - Sep 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Um….am I missing some sarcasm??? Kershaw is an ace starting pitcher for the Dodgers and not a relief pitcher.

    • lostsok - Sep 28, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      A writer at ESPN (I think) made an argument that Kimbrel should be the Cy Young. I think that pharmerbrown is posting in regards to that…

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