By: Drew Marshall
In the past week, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won the Cy Young awards for the American and National Leagues. Verlander ran away with the voting, winning unanimously. Kershaw, however, won overPhiladelphiaace and last year’s winner, Roy Halladay.
Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher to win the award since Eric Gagne in 2003. Though many thought that Halladay would present a challenge to Kershaw, the results were not as close. The left-hander fromLos Angelesscored a total of 207 points, with 27 of 32 first place votes. Halladay was 74 votes behind, with four first place votes. Kershaw experienced his best season in his short four-year career, after being drafted out of high school. He led the National League in earned run average and strikeouts. He was tied for the league lead in wins at 21. Remarkably, he did not lose a game after August 7, winning eight of his last nine. He was 12-1 after the All-Star break.
Verlander’s season was even more remarkable. Not only did he unanimously win the Cy Young award, but he is in the mix for the American League MVP, to be announced today. He also led the league in wins, strikeouts and earned run average. During the season, Verlander pitched a no-hitter in May, and then led the Tigers to a division title by winning 12 straight in the final games of the season. He also pitched two shutouts in four complete games.
Though these accomplishments are great, many people are speculative about the MVP announcement. Though a pitcher hasn’t won the award since Roger Clemens in 1986, and many people do not think a pitcher should win, Verlander remains optimistic. He pointed out, “the tremendous effect we have on the day of our game.” He will have to tangle with many heavy hitters of the American League. Kershaw and Verlander, in their dominating efforts this season, show the power of the pitcher in today’s game. Both men are under 30 years old, with Kershaw being only 23. The future of Major League Baseball seems bright, and with all the young talent, the age of the pitcher shouldn’t be coming to an end soon.