The 2013 Cy Young award winners are about as obvious as they come: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer. Both pitchers dominated their respective leagues, and when the award is announced, both will have some new hardware for their home.
Kershaw had one of the best pitching seasons in recent memory. He finished the season with an unbelievable 1.83 ERA and 16 wins. Kershaw is the first National League pitcher since Rodger Clemens in 2005 to finish with an ERA below 2.00.
Scherzer finished the year with a 21-3 record, including 13 in a row to start the season. Heading into September, Schezer was 19-1, and he has picked up two more wins this postseason.
What is impressive about both of these pitchers is that their teams are still playing halfway through October. Kershaw and Scherzer have each carried their rotations this year and have their teams playing in the LCS.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at just how dominate Kershaw and Scherzer were this season.
Clayton Kershaw pitched a career high 236 innings this year and was second only to Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who pitched 241.2 innings. However, Wainwright had an ERA of 2.94, which was 1.11 points higher than Kershaw’s.
Kershaw dominated every major pitching category this season. He led the NL in WHIP at 0.92, WAR at 7.9 and strikeouts with 232.
The Dodgers will put the season in the hands of Kershaw, as he is slated to start Game 6 Friday night. Manager Don Mattingly has to feel confident putting the best pitcher in the big leagues on the mound in an elimination game. Although he has the Cy Young award locked up, look for Kershaw to have another dominating performance as the series goes to seven games.
Kershaw will win his first Cy Young Award of his career, but, like Scherzer, he has his eyes set on hoisting the World Series Trophy.
Scherzer was a surprise for the Tigers this year. In the offseason, Justin Verlander signed a record contract of $202 million and was expected to be the ace of their staff again. However, Verlander had an “off” year, and Scherzer stepped up big for the Tigers.
Scherzer finished the year ranked top five in every major pitching category in the AL. He finished with an ERA of 2.90, WHIP of 0.97, WAR of 6.7, 240 strikeouts, 214.1 innings pitched and 21 wins.
Max Scherzer is 3rd pitcher in postseason history with back-to-back starts of at least 11 K. The others? Justin Verlander & Cliff Lee.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 14, 2013
The Tigers will turn to Scherzer Saturday night in Game 6 of the series. Whether the Tigers win or lose tonight in Game 5, manager Jim Leyland has faith in Scherzer to save the season and keep it going.
At 29, the Tigers hope that Scherzer will come back to Detroit and pitch this well for the next 3-5 years. Detroit has been to three straight ALCS’s, and if Scherzer can pitch like he did in 2013 next year, it will be four straight.