Nationals’ Max Scherzer beats Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for NL Cy Young
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Kluber’s win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.Scherzer yelled “yes!” when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding – also with expletives – that Manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.Scherzer’s win moves him into rare company. He’s the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay aren’t in the Hall of Fame – Kershaw and Halladay aren’t yet eligible. Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.Two aces, two different styles – and now another Cy Young Award for each.The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.“This one is special,” he said. “When you start talking about winning three times, I can’t even comprehend it at this point.”Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty led the NL in strikeouts (268) and WHIP (0.90) in 200-2/3 innings. He ranked second in ERA and fourth in wins and his +7.3 WAR was second among all pitchers, trailing only Kluber. In an era noted for declining pitcher durability, Scherzer eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington’s training staff was high on his thank-you list.Kershaw, the last pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Youngs (2013-14), got the other three first-place votes as well as 25 second-place votes to finish second overall. Scherzer’s Nationals teammate, Stephen Strasburg, finished third.For Kershaw, it was his second runner-up (2012) and the seventh consecutive year he finished in the top five, the longest such streak since Greg Maddux did the same from 1992-98.Though Kershaw is nearly universally regarded as the top pitcher of his generation, back injuries have sidelined him for significant stretches the past two seasons, opening the door for Scherzer to stake his claim as the NL’s No. 1 starter.Kershaw was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA. He won the most games in the NL and finished second in WHIP (0.95) while striking out 202 in 175 innings. It was that last figure that likely cost him this time around.Kershaw sat out five weeks while recovering from a back strain and threw 175 innings, 25 fewer than Scherzer, who missed two starts with a neck injury.When healthy, Kershaw was his usual magnificent self, adding a fifth ERA title to his sparkling resume and also leading the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 6.73 as he helped the Dodgers compile the best record in baseball.In addition to WHIP, strikeouts and innings, Scherzer outpaced Kershaw in strikeouts per nine innings, batting average against and OPS against.Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen finished fifth overall with two third-place votes, five fourth-place votes and six fifth-place votes. Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood received one fifth-place vote.Wednesday’s news is likely only the second most exciting development for Scherzer this offseason. He and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl to be named Brooke, in about a week.“We’re really pumped,” Scherzer said on the MLB Network broadcast. “We were actually thinking we might have to be in the hospital tonight. I’m glad we’re not.’’Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota’s Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games – nobody else had more than two.Ballots from two writers in each league city prior to postseason play are tabulated on a system that awards seven points for first place, four points for second place, three points for third place, two votes for fourth place and one point for fifth place. Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.The final BBWAA honors are Thursday when the AL and NL MVP awards are announced.Staff writer Bill Plunkett contributed to this story.