Clayton Kershaw Rides Pitching Triple Crown to Cy Young

Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw, a Triple Crown of pitching winner with league-best totals of victories (21), earned-run average (2.28) and strikeouts (248), won the National League Cy Young Award in balloting by the BBWAA.

Kershaw, at 23 the youngest Cy Young Award winner since 20-year-old Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in 1985, was named first on 27 of the 32 ballots, cast by two writers in each NL city. Kershaw was second on three ballots and third on two, to score 207 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Kershaw, who ended the season with an eight-game winning streak, had five complete games and limited opponents to a league-low .207 batting average.

Philadelphia Phillies righthander Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35 ERA, 8 CG, 220 K), the 2010 winner, was the runner-up with four first-place votes and 133 points. The other first-place vote went to Arizona Diamondbacks righthander Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA), who tied Kershaw for the NL lead in victories and finished fourth behind Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40 ERA, 6 CG, 238 K). Another Phillies pitcher, righthander Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79 ERA) rounded out the top five. Kershaw, Halladay and Lee were named on every ballot. In all, 12 pitchers gained mention.

Kershaw’s election marked the 10th time a Dodgers pitcher won the award. He joins three-time winner Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Mike Marshall, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser and Eric Gagne.

Halladay is the sixth Cy Young Award winner and fourth in the NL to finish second the year after he won the award. The others were Warren Spahn in 1958, Tom Glavine in 1992 and Brandon Webb in 2007 in the NL and Jim “Catfish” Hunter in 1975 and Jim Palmer in 1977 in the American League.

The voting:

2011 NL Cy Young

Pitcher, Team1st2nd3rd4th5thPoints
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers2732207
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies4217133
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies5179190
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks13618376
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies21317
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants157
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers135
Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants113
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers22
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves22
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants11
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants11