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Sabathia named Clutch Performer of the Year

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Sabathia named Clutch Performer of the Year
(courtesy Brewers.com)

According to baseball fans, no player was more "clutch" in 2008 than CC Sabathia.

The left-hander won Major League Baseball's Clutch Performer of the Year Award, presented by Pepsi, after a fan vote on MLB.com.

Sabathia split the regular season between Cleveland and Milwaukee and defended his 2007 American League Cy Young Award by posting a career-best 2.70 ERA with a career-high 251 strikeouts. He also led the majors with an MLB-leading 253 innings pitched, best in his career. He was at his best after the July 7 trade that brought him to Milwaukee, going 11-2 in 17 starts, including a complete-game win over the Cubs on the final day of the regular season.

It was Sabathia's seventh complete game for the Brewers and his third straight start on short rest. And it will be remembered as the day Milwaukee punched its first postseason ticket in 26 years.

Now, that's clutch.

"If there's a better pitcher in the Major Leagues, I don't know who it is," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said as the Brewers soaked themselves with champagne that evening. "We're going to need all the money in the world to sign him, he's so good."

The other finalists for the Clutch Performer award were Indians pitcher Cliff Lee, Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau and Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez.

This award is the culmination of a season-long campaign in which fans voted for six different Clutch Performer of the Month Award winners. Those players included three from the Yankees -- Chien-Ming Wang (April), Jason Giambi (June) and Mike Mussina (July); the White Sox' Carlos Quentin (May), Sabathia (August) and the Phillies' Ryan Howard (September).

The nominees each month and for the season-end award were selected by a special MLB.com editorial panel.

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