Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber win Cy Young Awards
NEW YORK — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was a unanimous choice for his third NL Cy Young Award, and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber edged Seattle’s Felix Hernandez to win the AL honor for the first time.
Kershaw led the majors in victories and ERA and threw a no-hitter, going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA for the NL West champions.
Now, the big question: Is he the Most Valuable Player, too?
The 26-year-old lefty with a wicked curveball will find out today if he’s the first NL pitcher to sweep the MVP and Cy Young honors since Bob Gibson in 1968.
As expected, Kershaw earned the pitching prize for the second year in a row, getting all 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Wednesday.
“Pretty cool,” Kershaw said after the MLB Network telecast.
Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati was second with 112 points, followed by Adam Wainwright of St. Louis (97) and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner of San Francisco (28).
“As far as the regular season is concerned, it was a ton of fun,” Kershaw said.
Voting was completed before the start of the postseason. Kershaw went 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA in a Division Series loss to St. Louis, leaving him at 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in his postseason career.
Kluber received 17 of 30 first-place votes and 169 points, while King Felix got 13 firsts and 159 points. Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox was third with 78 points.
“I think I’m definitely surprised,” he said.
His plans after the announcement were far from flashy.
“Probably go home and give my daughters a bath,” he said.
A 28-year-old right-hander, Kluber went 18-9 to tie for the AL lead in wins. He had a 2.44 ERA in his first full major league season and 269 strikeouts, two behind league leader David Price.
Kluber pitched consecutive 14-strikeout games in September, the first to accomplish the feat since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 2004. He became Cleveland’s fourth Cy Young winner, joining Gaylord Perry (1972), CC Sabathia (2007) and Cliff Lee (2008).
Hernandez, who won the AL award in 2010, went 15-6 with a 2.44 ERA. He struck out 248 in 236 innings.
From the start, Kershaw was headed toward his third Cy Young in four seasons.
He won the major league season opener in Australia on March 22, then a strained upper back put him on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.
Once he returned, he was nearly unbeatable — and kept looking more and more like his friend, Dodgers Hall of Fame lefty Sandy Koufax.
Kershaw joined Koufax as one of nine pitchers with at least three Cy Youngs. Roger Clemens leads the list with seven.
The previous pitcher with a unanimous win was Detroit’s Justin Verlander, who took the AL Cy Young and MVP in 2011. A year earlier, Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay unanimously won the NL Cy Young.
Verlander is among six AL pitchers to take the Cy Young and MVP since Gibson’s NL sweep nearly a half-century ago.
Kershaw became the first pitcher to lead the majors in ERA for four straight years. He topped baseball this season in complete games and was best among starters in strikeouts per nine innings and WHIP (walks plus hits per inning).
He struck out 239 in 198 1-3 innings, three behind NL co-leaders Stephen Strasburg and Cueto.
Kershaw’s crowning achievement was the first no-hitter of his career, at Dodger Stadium against Colorado on June 18. Soon after, he was picked as an All-Star for the fourth time in a row.
Kershaw came within one vote of being unanimous last year. Tim Lincecum had been the last NL pitcher to win back-to-back Cys, in 2008-09 for the Giants.