2011 NL Cy Young Award Goes To Clayton Kershaw

SAN DIEGO, CA: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws the ball 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)

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been named the winner of the 2011 NL Cy Young award. Kershaw won the NL pitching triple crown, which is a thing.

The 2011 AL Cy Young award was easy. Or at least, the results suggested it was easy, as Justin Verlander was the unanimous selection. Maybe Verlander shouldn't have been a unanimous winner - maybe CC Sabathia deserved some more consideration - but it was obvious that Verlander was going to win the whole time, and he did win, big.

The 2011 NL Cy Young award did not look so easy. Depending on who you talked to, the NL race featured either a two- or a three-headed monster. The top candidates?

Pitcher Innings ERA FIP Wins K% BB%
Roy Halladay 233⅔ 2.35 2.20 19 23.6% 3.8%
Clayton Kershaw 233⅓ 2.28 2.47 21 27.2% 5.9%
Cliff Lee 232⅔ 2.40 2.60 17 25.9% 4.6%

So close. As our own Rob Neyer wrote just today, Kershaw won the NL pitching triple crown and appeared to be the favorite, but a convincing argument could be made for any one of those guys. Kershaw had ERA and strikeouts. Halladay had FIP and control. Lee had shutouts and wasn't exactly far behind in anything else.

It was almost impossible to tell these guys apart. Indeed, I think the consensus wound up being that, no matter who won, he would be deserving, so long as it was one of these three.

And the winner? Kershaw. By a pretty big margin, it turned out.

Pitcher, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers 27 3 2 207
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies 4 21 7 133
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies 5 17 9 1 90
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks 1 3 6 18 3 76
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies 2 13 17
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants 1 5 7
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers 1 3 5
Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants 1 1 3
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers 2 2
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves 2 2
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants 1 1
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants 1 1

Kershaw picked up 27 of 32 first-place votes, as the voters decided his triple crown was enough. The Ian Kennedy first-place vote is absolutely bizarre, but, whatever, I'm not going to get into that.

This is the tenth time that a Dodger has won the Cy Young.

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