NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Maybe in other years, 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts would have been enough to eke out the AL Cy Young Award.
But not in 2011. Yankees starter CC Sabathia, like the rest of the league this season, ran into the buzzsaw known as Justin Verlander.
And now the Detroit Tigers ace is ready to jump into the big debate. Shortly after winning the top pitching honors on Tuesday in a unanimous vote, Verlander took on a far more intriguing question: Will he capture the MVP trophy, too?
“Do I think it’s possible? Yes. Would I like to win it? Of course,” he said during a conference call. “It’s kind of a weird scenario.”
No starting pitcher has won the MVP since Roger Clemens in 1986, with Dennis Eckersley the last reliever to get it in 1992. Many say pitchers shouldn’t win the MVP, period, contending they already have their own award.
“Pitchers are on the ballot,” Verlander said. Bolstering the case for all pitchers, Verlander pointed to the “tremendous effect we have on the day of our game.”
His season – he won the pitching version of the Triple Crown, led Detroit to its first division crown in 24 years and drew every first-place vote in the Cy Young race – definitely has ratcheted up the discussion in a crowded MVP field that includes Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera and more.
“I’m so different from everybody,” he said.
If he doesn’t win, Verlander said he’d like to see Granderson, his former teammate, get the award.
Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young when the results are released Thursday. He won the NL pitching Triple Crown, leading with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts and tying for wins at 21.
The AL and NL Managers of the Year will be announced Wednesday.
Verlander led the majors in wins by going 24-5 and topped baseball with 250 strikeouts. His 2.40 ERA was the best among AL pitchers who qualified for the title.
The 28-year-old righty was listed on top on all 28 ballots by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and finished with 196 points.
Jered Weaver (18-8, 2.41) of the Los Angeles Angels was the only other pitcher listed on every ballot and second with 97 points. James Shields of Tampa Bay was third with 66, followed by Sabathia with 63. Tigers reliever Jose Valverde, who was perfect in 49 save chances, was fifth with 28.
Should Verlander take home the MVP award too? Is your vote for Granderson instead? Let us know in the comments below…
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