Cy Young Preview: It's Clayton Kershaw's To Lose

SAN DIEGO, CA: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks off the field after being removed from the game during the 8th inning on his way recording his 21st win of the season during the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw won the Pitcher's Triple Crown this season, which makes him the huge favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award today. But does he deserve it?

Please tell me if I'm wrong about this, but I think we already know who's going to win the National League Cy Young Award.

Granted, it's not likely to be unamimous, like in the American League. But I think it's probably Clayton Kershaw's unless a significant number of voters decide to get fancy on us.

See, Clayton Kershaw won the Pitcher's Triple Crown: he led the National League in ERA, he led the National League in strikeouts, and he co-led the National League in wins. Kershaw's Triple Crown was the 13th in the Cy Young Era, and the first 12 all led, whether explicitly or not, to Cy Young Awards. Including Justin Verlander's this week.

With all due respect, at least some Cy Young voters are going to look at Kershaw's Triple Crown and immediately stop thinking about other candidates.

Usually that's perfectly fine. Usually the guy who wins the Triple Crown really is the best pitcher. Looking at the list, I don't really see any non-deserving Cy Young winners. Well, except for maybe one: Jake Peavy, just four years ago. National League West power pitcher in a pitcher's park ... sound familiar? I argued at the time that Brandon Webb deserved serious consideration. Webb did finish second, but Peavy was listed first on all 32 ballots.

This year's Brandon Webb? Roy Halladay, probably.

Halladay won 19 games to Kershaw's 21, and his ERA was just .07 higher. While pitching one-third of an inning more than Kershaw, Halladay actually gave up one fewer run; Kershaw's tiny ERA lead is due to him giving up seven unearned runs next to Halladay's four. Kershaw struck out 28 more than Halladay, but also walked 21 more. Kershaw gave up 15 home runs, Halladay only 10.

Kershaw pitches in a mild pitcher's park; Halladay pitches in a mild hitter's park.

When you consider all of the above, do you really want to argue that Kershaw actually pitched better than Halladay?

I do not.

Clayton Kershaw's going to win the Cy Young Award. It won't be unanimous. But he's going to win. And I'm not at all convinced that he should.

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