New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has claimed his second National League Cy Young Award in three years, while Max Scherzer gave the Detroit Tigers their second American League recipient over that same period when baseball's top pitching honor was revealed Wednesday by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Both star hurlers were overwhelming choices following their outstanding 2013 seasons. Scherzer, the major league leader with 21 wins, received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes to easily outdistance the Japanese tandem of Texas' Yu Darvish and Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma. Kershaw, this year's MLB earned run average champion, was a near-unanimous choice after being named atop all but one of the 30 ballots cast.
Having emerged as the ace of a formidable Tigers staff that also contains 2011 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, Scherzer delivered a career season to help Detroit to a third consecutive AL Championship Series appearance. The hard-throwing right-hander began his brilliant campaign by ripping off 13 straight winning decisions and finished with a stellar 21-3 record, with the Tigers prevailing in 25 of his 32 starts.
Scherzer added 240 strikeouts while limiting opposing hitters to a .198 average, second to Darvish for the AL lead in both categories, while his 2.90 overall ERA was fifth-best in the Junior Circuit.
The 29-year-old is the fourth Tiger to receive the AL Cy Young, along with Verlander (2011), Denny McClain (1968, '69) and Willie Hernandez (1984).
Detroit very nearly recorded a three-year sweep of the award, as Verlander was edged out by Tampa Bay's David Price by a mere four points in last year's voting.
Scherzer's 203 total points were more than twice that of runner-up Darvish, who posted the highest finish by a Japanese hurler after receiving 19 second- place votes and 93 points. Iwakuma was third with 73 points, with Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (46 points) and Chicago's Chris Sale (44 points) named first on the lone two ballots that did not go to Scherzer.
Kershaw didn't win as many games as Scherzer, but the devastating lefty still had few equals in delivering an absolutely dominant 2013 season. He captured a third straight NL ERA title with an MLB-best 1.83 mark, tied for tops in the majors with 27 quality starts and paced the NL in strikeouts (232) while compiling a 16-9 record for the West champion Dodgers.
The 25-year-old Texan, who held enemy batters to a .195 average through his 33 starts, played a major role in Los Angeles' second-half surge into the playoffs as well. In 13 outings following the All-Star break, Kershaw went 8-3 with a 1.59 ERA and fanned 93 hitters in 90 2/3 innings.
Kershaw, who finished a distant second to then-New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the 2012 race, now joins some very select company in Dodgers lore. Prior to his selection, only Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax had earned the honor more than once in team history.
The three-time All-Star earned 207 of a possible 210 points in his landside victory. St. Louis' Adam Wainwright, the NL's co-leader in wins (19) with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, received the other first-place vote and accumulated 86 points, 24 more than Miami phenom and 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez.
Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel and New York righty Matt Harvey tied for fourth in the NL balloting with 39 points.