The unanimous choice of Roy Halladay for the NL Cy Young Award came as no surprise on Wednesday, but it did come with at least some sense of disappointment for the Cardinals and ace Adam Wainwright. I’m sure he cares about the team’s pursuit of a World Series much more than his individual pursuit of an award, but at this point, Wainwright has to be wondering what more he must do to capture pitching’s top prize. Adam has now finished second and third respectively in Cy Young voting for the last two seasons.
In what was known as the year of the pitcher, featuring two perfect games, four no-hitters, and one very near perfect game (Armando Galarraga’s), Phillies superstar Roy Halladay was the best of the best in the National League. In 33 regular season games, Halladay posted a record of 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and 219 strikeouts. He also had 250 2/3 innings, nine complete games, and four shutouts, all of which led the NL. To top it all off, Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins early in the season, and then threw a no hitter against the Reds in game one of the NLDS (After the Cy Young voting ended). It is the second Cy Young of Doc’s impressive career, and the first since 2003. Halladay was the 13th ever unanimous NL selection, and the sixth unanimous selection in all of baseball since 2000. Winning the Cy Young in both leagues is quite an accomplishment in its own right, but to do it in your first year of transition is really something special. There was some heated controversy in Philadelphia when the Phillies decided to trade Cliff Lee to the Mariners last off-season, but I think it’s safe to say that Roy Halladay has completely erased what was left of that.
While Roy Halladay did receive all 32 first place votes to make the Cy Young race not so close after all, it’s hard to ignore the recent success that Adam Wainwright has had on the mound for the Cards. In 2010, Wainwright finished in the top three in the National League in Wins (20), ERA (2.42), WHIP (1.05), innings pitched (230.1), complete games (5), shutouts (2), and strikeout to walk ratio (3.80). It’s hard to believe that Wainwright comes away with nothing to show for such incredible numbers.
Colorado’s breakout star Ubaldo Jimenez, who jumped out to a 15-1 record and started the all-star game for the NL, placed third in the voting. The 26-year-old threw the first no hitter of the year and has an extremely bright future with the Rockies. Tim Lincecum, who won back to back Cy Young’s in 2008 & 2009 and won the World Series with the Giants this season, finished 11th in the voting with just two fifth place votes. In the American League, Felix “The King” Hernandez came away with the award in a much closer race. Hernandez won just 13 games with the Mariners in 2010, but he was given some of the worst run support in all of baseball.
As much as I would’ve liked to see Wainwright get rewarded for the remarkable season that he put together, there was just no way that Halladay couldn’t win the Cy Young. Let me be clear. Roy Halladay was the best pitcher in the National League this year, and there is no doubt that he deserves the honor more than any other pitcher out there. Doc had one of the greatest individual seasons as a pitcher in MLB history, and no one can take that away from him.
However, with that being said, Adam Wainwright is a Cy Young pitcher. With a record of 50-22 over the past three years, he is certainly proving to be worthy and deserving of the award. At just 29 years old, you have to think that Wainwright’s time will come if he continues to perform at such a high level. I truly believe that it is a question of when with Wainwright, not a question of if. He is simply too talented not to win a Cy Young before he retires.
Since Chris Carpenter won it with the Cardinals in 2005, the Cy Young has eluded St. Louis and its top-tier pitching staff. It seems as though the Cards have someone in contention for the Cy Young every year, but so far, that has only equated to one winners in the last 40 years. No matter how you look at it, the Cardinals are extremely fortunate to have two of the best pitchers in baseball right now. The Cards have a huge advantage going into almost every game knowing that their talented pitching will put them in a position to win night in and night out. Whether they have guys competing for postseason awards or not, which they most likely will in the years to come, the main focus must and will be on bringing a World Series Championship back to St. Louis.