Halladay or Kershaw? Flip a coin

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
10:00
AM ET
As you can see from the voting results of our SweetSpot bloggers, the NL Cy Young race should be a heated battle (voting based on seven points for first, four for second, three for third):

Roy Halladay, Phillies: 139 points (13 first-place votes)
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 134 points (12)
Cliff Lee, Phillies: 74 points
Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks: 3 points

You can slice and dice the numbers a lot of different ways. Tim Kurkjian and Christina Kahrl debate the merits of each pitcher here. The perception that Halladay faced much tougher competition is true -- but barely. If you count up the 32 opponents Halladay started against, they averaged 4.16 runs per game; if you count the 33 opponents Kershaw started against (including the Giants six times), they averaged 4.11 runs per game. Overall, Halladay allowed 65 runs in 32 starts; Kershaw allowed 66 runs in 33 starts. Halladay was more consistent (only two starts allowing more than four runs versus four for Kershaw), while Kershaw was more dominant (17 starts allowing zero runs or one versus 13 for Halladay). Halladay pitched in a slightly tougher home park and had a 2.23 road ERA (but his NL East rivals all play in good pitchers' parks), while Kershaw had a 2.79 road ERA (he gets San Diego and San Francisco in the division, but also Arizona and Colorado).

Of course, Kershaw won the pitching Triple Crown, leading the NL in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Of the 12 previous pitchers to win the Triple Crown during the Cy Young era (including Justin Verlander this year), all 12 won the Cy Young Award.

Which tells you how great Halladay was: Just as great as a guy who won the Triple Crown. In the end, I predict Kershaw wins the award, but it's too bad they can't cut it in two.

(For the record, my unofficial ballot: Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Cole Hamels, Kennedy.)

David Schoenfield | email

SweetSpot blogger

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