Had deGrom won, he would have joined Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers in history to win three consecutive Cy Young Awards. Instead, he remains one of 11 to win two in a row.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, deGrom was arguably the NL Cy Young favorite. But with the Reds in a pennant push, Bauer delivered his finest start of the year, striking out 12 Brewers over eight innings of one-run ball. Three days later, deGrom proved relatively mortal in allowing three runs to the Nationals.
deGrom finished with a 2.38 ERA and 104 strikeouts, while Bauer established himself as the favorite with a league-leading 1.73 ERA and 100 whiffs. The Cubs' Darvish posted a 2.01 ERA with 93 strikeouts.
For deGrom, it was a shade off of the level that defined him from 2018-19, when he went a combined 21-17 with a 2.05 ERA and 524 strikeouts to win near-unanimous consecutive Cy Young Awards. On each occasion, deGrom pulled away from the pack with a dominant September.
The shortened 2020 campaign did not afford him the same opportunity. Instead, deGrom battled minor neck and back injuries that forced him to miss a start and cut short another. He ranked just 14th in the NL in innings after finishing in the top three in that category in each of the previous two seasons.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted on the award, with all ballots submitted before the start of the postseason.