Kershaw, Sale lead CY Odds
March 28, 2017
Southpaw Sweep For Cy Young Awards?
Breaking news: water is wet, the sky is blue and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is the National League Cy Young betting favorite. OK, none of those are exactly breaking news.
Kershaw has been the best pitcher on the planet since 2011, when he won the first of his three Cy Young Awards, also taking it home in 2013 & ’14. Kershaw also won his first major-league ERA title in 2011 and won the next three in a row as well – he’s the only pitcher to win four straight ERA crowns. Thus it’s no surprise that Kershaw is a +130 favorite at BetOnline to win the 2017 Cy Young.
Kershaw likely would have won another Cy and ERA title in 2016 had he not missed more than two months with a herniated disc in his back. Kershaw was his normal dominant self once back in early September in leading the Dodgers to another NL West title. He was a bit shaky again in the postseason, but that’s a story for another day.
Overall, Kershaw was 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA, 172 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 21 starts, his fewest since his 2008 rookie season. His ERA and WHIP (0.72) would have led the majors, but Kershaw didn’t have enough innings to qualify. He still finished fifth in the Cy Young voting. Realistically, the only thing that can slow the 29-year-old down would be a recurrence of that back injury. He is given a wins total of 16.5 on MLB odds, with the under a slight favorite. That total is the highest in the majors. It might seem low for such a talent, but Kershaw has won more than 16 games just twice in his career: 2011 (21-5) and 2014 (21-3). He landed right on 16 victories in 2013 & ’15.
The other NL pitchers below +1000 for the Cy Young are reigning winner Max Scherzer of the Nationals (+450), the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard (+700) and Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner (+800). Scherzer last year became the sixth pitcher in history to win a Cy in both leagues; he also did in 2013 with Detroit. Scherzer led the majors with 284 strikeouts in 2016, including tying the single-game record of 20 against his former Tigers team on May 11. With a shot at history, the final batter of the game, James McCann, grounded to third. He had struck out his previous three at-bats.
Left-handers haven’t swept the Cy Young Awards in the respective leagues since 2002 when Arizona’s Randy Johnson won the fifth and final award of his Hall of Fame career, and Oakland’s Barry Zito won his first and only award in the Junior Circuit.
However, new Red Sox lefty Chris Sale is the +200 favorite in the American League. Boston gave up a haul of top prospects to land Sale in trade from the White Sox this offseason. Sale has finished among the top six in the AL Cy Young Award voting in five consecutive seasons but hasn’t won it. He was an early favorite last year as well but faded a bit late, still finishing 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA, 233 strikeouts and an AL-best six complete games. Great numbers considering Sale was on a bad White Sox team.
Sale would seem likely to win more games in Boston because he has the AL’s best lineup behind him. He also doesn’t have to face the other team’s No. 1 every night because the Sox have two other Cy Young winners on the staff in Rick Porcello and David Price.
Porcello had a career year in 2016 in winning the award, going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA. He is a long shot at +3300 to repeat. Price won the award in 2012 with Tampa and was second in the voting in 2012 & ’15. Price is +1400 this year even though he will start the season on the disabled list due to elbow discomfort this spring. It’s possible he might not debut in the majors until May as the Sox will play it very cautious. They are all about the postseason.
The second-favorite to Sale is Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (+300), the 2014 Cy Young winner. He was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 227 strikeouts last year. Kluber also was dominant in the postseason as the Tribe reached the World Series; he was out of gas in Game 7 vs. the Cubs starting yet again on short rest.
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