Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won his second National League Cy Young Award in three seasons, and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers was voted the American League’s best pitcher after posting a Major League Baseball-high 21 wins.
The last of baseball’s major awards, the Most Valuable Player in each league, will be presented today.
Kershaw, who also won in 2011 and came in second in the Cy Young voting last season, posted numbers not seen among the team’s starters since the days of Sandy Koufax almost 50 years ago.
Kershaw beat finalists Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals, receiving all but one of the first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Wainwright got the other first-place selection.
“This is such a cool thing,” Kershaw said in a televised interview. “I can’t even really explain what it means to me. More than anything, I think it’s a team award.”
Kershaw, a 25-year-old left-hander, led MLB with a 1.83 earned run average and topped the NL with 232 strikeouts while compiling a 16-9 record.
His ERA led the major leagues for the third straight year, making Kershaw the first pitcher to do that since Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves in 1993-95. His ERA also was the lowest for a pitcher with at least 220 innings since Dwight Gooden’s 1.55 for the New York Mets in 1985. Koufax, a Hall of Fame member, is the only other Dodger with an ERA lower than 2.00, a number he eclipsed in 1963, 1964 and 1966.
Kershaw was selected to his third All-Star team in 2013 as the Dodgers won the NL West before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the league championship series, where he lost twice -- including the clinching sixth game.
The Cy Young winner two years ago when he went 21-5, Kershaw became the Dodgers’ first multiple winner since Koufax took the award in 1963, 1965 and 1966.
Kershaw was offered a $300 million lifetime contract this season by the Dodgers, ESPN reported, citing a person familiar with the talks. The deal never closed out of Kershaw’s concern over the length and reluctance to negotiate during the season, the network said. The contract may be completed this offseason with a portion of the salary going to Kershaw’s charity, ESPN said.
Scherzer received 28 of the 30 first-place votes in the AL balloting. The other finalists were Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners, both of whom were trying to become the first Japanese-born pitcher to win the award.
“I’ve been working so hard for all these years to keep getting better and better, every single year try and do something better,” Scherzer said.
Scherzer had 203 points overall, more than double the 93 of Darvish, while Iwakuma had 73. Fellow Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, who had the AL’s lowest earned run average at 2.57, and Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale each received one first-place vote.
Scherzer, 29, opened the year 13-0, the first pitcher to win at least 13 games without a loss to start the season since Roger Clemens with the Boston Red Sox in 1986. He then went 19-1 for the best record since Clemens’s 20-1 in 2001, and finished 21-3 with a 2.90 earned run average.
Scherzer was the major leagues’ only 20-game winner this season, with the best record since Cliff Lee was 22-3 in 2008. The second Tigers’ pitcher to win the award in three years, he was second to Darvish in strikeouts with 240 and batting average of opponents at .198. His .254 on-base percentage led MLB.
Scherzer was the AL’s starting pitcher for the lowest-scoring All-Star Game in 23 years. The American League won 3-0.
In six seasons in the majors, Scherzer has started 165 games with a 73-45 record. He began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008, when he was 0-4 in seven starts.
Justin Verlander of the Tigers won the Cy Young Award in 2011.
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