Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Waino earns fourth top-three Cy Young Award finish

Cardinals' ace behind Kershaw, Cueto after also placing third in 2009, runner-up in '10, '13
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- For the fourth time in his career, Adam Wainwright can boast of being a top-three finisher for the National League Cy Young Award. He continues, however, to await his first win.

In a vote that unanimously selected Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as the NL Cy Young Award recipient, Wainwright came in third, also behind Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto. Of the 30 ballots cast, seven placed Wainwright second and the other 23 slotted him in third place.

ST. LOUIS -- For the fourth time in his career, Adam Wainwright can boast of being a top-three finisher for the National League Cy Young Award. He continues, however, to await his first win.

In a vote that unanimously selected Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as the NL Cy Young Award recipient, Wainwright came in third, also behind Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto. Of the 30 ballots cast, seven placed Wainwright second and the other 23 slotted him in third place.

Two voters from 15 NL cities selected a first- through fifth-place candidate, to which a 7-4-3-2-1 point system was then applied. No other Cardinals pitchers appeared on any of the 30 ballots.

Wainwright also finished third in the Cy Young voting in 2009, though that year he received more first-place votes than either of the two pitchers who finished ahead of him. In 2010 and '13, Wainwright was the runner-up in the NL Cy Young Award race. Kershaw has won each of the last two awards, and at 26 years old, is the youngest player in history to have won three.

Each of the top three NL Cy Young Award finishers reached the 20-win mark, with Wainwright hitting that threshold for a second time in his career. He passed on the chance to chase for win No. 21 by sitting on the final day of the regular season once the Cardinals had secured a division title.

"It's certainly not easy," said Wainwright, speaking on MLB Network's Cy Young Awards show of reaching that 20-win benchmark. "It's a tremendous honor to say you've achieved 20-win seasons. But I really owe most of that to my team. They put me in good positions to win. They constantly face tough pitchers when I'm pitching and they push across."

Among all NL starters, Wainwright ranked in the top three in season ERA (2.38), WHIP (1.03), innings pitched (227), complete games (five), shutouts (three) and home runs allowed per nine innings (0.4). Per Baseball Reference, Wainwright had a Wins-Above-Replacement value of 6.1.

He made 32 starts and went at least seven innings deep in 24 of them. Wainwright gave up more than two earned runs in only 10 of those outings. In fact, he became just the third pitcher since 1920 to have 12 or more starts of at least seven innings in which no runs were allowed. Bob Gibson had 13 such starts in 1968 and Dean Chance had 12 in 1964. They were both Cy Young Award winners.

Wainwright was able to have such a season while also dealing with elbow issues throughout. Soreness caused him to miss a start in June and then affected him during an uncharacteristically poor August. Nonetheless, Wainwright was able to finish the regular season by allowing a total of two runs in his final four starts (33 innings), all St. Louis wins.

"The rough patches that I had throughout the season can be attributed to health, as you say," Wainwright said on MLB Network. "I had some floaties in the arm. They get in the joint, they cause you some lack of mobility, some lack of movement, and don't allow you to finish your pitches like you always might. So we made some adjustments [in the training room] to keep me strong and try to find a way to fight through it to the end. We knew that taking off a few starts here, a few starts there down the stretch was not an option. It was one of those things that I gave it all I had; sometimes that was enough, sometimes it wasn't."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright