Clayton Kershaw in elite company with second Cy Young Award

It really shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the 2013 National League Cy Young Award.

Despite equally impressive performances from Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, Marlins’ rookie fireballer Jose Fernandez and Mets’ phenom Matt Harvey, Kershaw’s season was too impressive to ignore and as a result, he’s now created a viable argument as baseball’s best pitcher.

Kershaw’s 2013 season (16-9/ 1.83 ERA/.92 WHIP/232 K’s) has placed him in the pantheon of pitching greatness, joining the likes of Bob Gibson in ’68, Greg Maddux in ’94 and ’95, Koufax in ’66 and Warren Spahn in ’53,with some of the most dominant single season performances in history.

Kershaw has also become one of four pitchers to win the award multiple times and among Dodgers’ pitching greats (that’s a very distinguished list as well), he joins Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers to win the award more than once.

Perhaps the only shock of Kershaw winning this award was that he didn’t win it unanimously. He received 29 out of 30 first place votes.

Kershaw’s first Cy Young Award, in 2011, was a coming-out party of sorts. That year, he won 21 games, racked up 248 strikeouts and garnered a 2.28 ERA. It was a season that was the pitching version of the Triple Crown. For Kershaw, it was only the beginning.

He could very well have three Cy Young Awards on his mantle had he not finished as runner-up last season. In 2012, he lost to eventual winner R.A. Dickey by posting a 14-9 record with a league-leading 2.53 ERA and 229 K’s. Not bad for a second place finish.

And this year, Kershaw put it all together. He became a maestro on the mound, conducting a baseball performance that had many fans roar in thunderous applause and left many opponents talking to themselves as they made that long, ponderous walk back to the dugout.

That Kershaw pitched this season with one of the worst run-support ratios (3.79) in baseball makes his 2013 season more impressive than 2011, when he was a 20 game winner.

And that could ultimately be why he outdistanced himself from the rest of the field to win the award this year.

With Kershaw’s Cy Young Award being the cherry on the icing of a career that is still developing, the only other trophy he needs to win now is the World Series trophy.

He and the Dodgers are working on that part.

Until that time happens, expect Kershaw to continue to surprise and astonish.

Now that he’s entered elite company, the best is yet to come.

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