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Clayton Kershaw Wins National League Cy Young Award

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Clayton Kershaw Wins National League Cy Young Award
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

For the second time in three seasons, Clayton Kershaw is the National League Cy Young Award winner.

MLB had the news:

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced that the Los Angeles Dodgers ace had won the Cy Young Wednesday, beating out Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Kershaw ran away with the voting results. According to SI.com's Ted Keith, he received 29 of the 30 first-place votes, barely missing out on becoming the 11th player in National League history to win the award unanimously. He would have joined Orel Hershiser (1988) and Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965, 1966) as the third Dodger to do so. 

This is the second time Kershaw came within a narrow margin of making history.

In 2011, Kershaw received 27 of the 32 first-place votes during a season in which he went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.     

As hard as it is to believe, Kershaw was even better in 2013. Although he finished with a middle of the road 16-9 win-loss record, it was through no fault of his own. The 25-year-old lefty recorded career lows in ERA (1.83) and WHIP (0.92) while striking out a National League-high 232 batters over 236 innings pitched.

Metrically, Kershaw graded out as by far the best pitcher in baseball. Per FanGraphs, his 6.5 wins above replacement (WAR) was the best among pitchers, and he set a career best with a 2.39 FIP. Leading the majors with 27 quality starts in his 33 outings, Kershaw had all the stats to come up with his second 20-win season but was failed by the Dodgers' offense.      

Kershaw gave up two or fewer runs 10 times, only to get a loss or no-decision. On average, the Dodgers gave Kershaw just 3.79 runs of support per start, one of the 20 worst rates in baseball. That came despite a high-priced lineup filled with All-Stars of the past and present.

But despite the Dodgers' struggles with Kershaw on the mound, their ace played an integral part to their late-season run. Sitting at 23-31 on June 1 and in last place in the NL West, Los Angeles played 30 games above .500 the rest of the way en route to winning the division. Kershaw started twice in the Dodgers' NLDS triumph over the Atlanta Braves, giving up only one earned run over 13 innings pitched.

Perhaps the only time Kershaw did not come through for his team was when it needed him most. With the Dodgers down 3-2 in the NLCS, Kershaw allowed seven earned runs and gave up 10 hits in only four innings pitched, as the Cardinals eliminated Los Angeles to advance to the World Series. 

That being said, even if the playoffs ended in disappointment for Kershaw, there was no question that he was the most outstanding pitcher of 2013 from April through September.  

 

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