There was never any doubt Clayton Kershaw would win his third Cy Young Award. The question was, By how much?
A lot. As in 30 first place votes for him, and none for the rest.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America left no doubt, as Kershaw received every first place vote en route to an incredible third Cy Young Award in four years. And to think, he actually could've made it 4-for-4 had R.A. Dickey not had the season of his life in 2012. But one second place finish ain't bad, either.
The 2014 season was certainly an interesting one for Kershaw. He started the year Down Under pitching 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks in Australia, then found himself on the DL with a sore back muscle. After overcoming that, he returned in May and looked better than ever, soon pitching a no-hitter on June 18 over the Rockies, striking out 15 in what is considered one of the best pitched games of all time.
He ended the season 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 239 K's. Those were far and away the best in baseball, and with all due respect to guys like Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright, he was clearly the top dog in the NL.
Of course, the voting for the award took place after the regular season ended, as his NLDS was a disaster, dropping two games to the Cardinals to the tune of a 7.82 ERA. Take away two bad seventh innings, and who knows how far the Dodgers could've gone. But alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Postseason aside, let's not forget just how unbelievably awesome Kershaw was during 2014. He's as must-see a pitcher as there is in baseball right now, as the Dodgers can count on such a great show every fifth day. Right now he's the best there is, and two bad starts in October doesn't change that.
In the immediate future, Kershaw has a possible MVP award to be looking forward to, as he will find out if he did the impossible on Thursday night. He'll have to hold off studs like Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen, but thing are looking good for the rare MVP going to a pitcher.
In the long term, it's obviously all about finding success in October and getting the Dodgers a World Series title they haven't seen since 1988. He's won awards, pitched a no-hitter (which was an error away from a perfect game), and now wants a ring.
Hopefully it'll all come together for him in 2015.