The Washington Times - November 17, 2011, 03:25PM

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw went home with his first Cy Young award Thursday, a well-deserved honor for the 23-year-old who helped a mediocre Dodgers team win 21 games this season and led the league in almost every category.

Roy Halladay finished second with Cliff Lee, Ian Kennedy and Cole Hamels falling in behind him.


Here are the full vote totals:

Pitcher, Team1st2nd3rd4th5thPoints
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers2732  207
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies4217  133
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies 5179190
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks13618376
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies   21317
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants   157
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers   135
Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants   113
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers    22
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves    22
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants    11
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants    11


I had a vote for this year’s Cy Young so, for transparency sake, here’s the way I voted with a brief bit of my reasoning:

1. Clayton Kershaw - Hard to argue with a guy who led the league in ERA (2.28), strikeouts (248), WHIP - Walks plus hits per innings pitched - (0.977), allowed just 6.7 hits per nine innings — the lowest in the NL — and won 21 games (while losing just five) for a mediocre Los Angeles Dodgers team. He made 33 starts and when the 23-year-old Kershaw allowed three runs or less (27 times), the Dodgers lost just four times all season.

2. Roy Halladay - Another superb year for Halladay unfortunately came as a follow up to a no-hitter and perfect-game season that we may never see again. The Phillies’ horse led the league in ERA+ (adjusted for ballparks), walked a league-low 1.3 batters per nine innings, struck out 6.29 batters for every walk issued and led the league with eight complete games.  A close second to Kershaw.

3. Ian Kennedy - Pitching in a supreme pitchers park in Arizona, the Diamondbacks ace led the way for the surprising NL West champions. Kennedy won 21 games while losing just four and he was at his best down the stretch when the Diamondbacks won 14 of his final 15 starts while he posted a 2.26 ERA and held opponents to a .216 batting average.

4. Cliff Lee - On the whole, Lee’s 2011 season makes a strong case for a higher vote but Lee, who led the league with six shutouts and was perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the game when he allowed just one run in the entire month of June while pitching 42 innings. But there were also times when he was outdueled. He surrendered double-digit hit totals five times, including once each to the Nationals and Padres who both finished as two of the worst offensive teams in the league.

5. Cole Hamels - While Hamels’ stuff may have looked better at times this year then ever before in the 27-year-old lefty’s career, he didn’t lead the league in any one category and had six starts where he was pulled before the sixth inning. Maybe it’s an imperfect standard but when there are pitchers who appear to bring their best each time out — or can still get by even when they’re without their best stuff — it’s difficult to overlook even the smallest samples of significant struggle.