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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani 4th in AL Cy Young voting; Astros’ Justin Verlander is unanimous winner


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The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani finished fourth, behind unanimous winner Justin Verlander, for the American League Cy Young Award, which was announced on Wednesday.

It marked the first time in Ohtani’s five major league seasons that he’d received any votes for the pitching award.

Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2018 and the AL MVP unanimously in 2021. He has already been identified as one of the top three finishers for the 2022 MVP, which will be announced on Thursday. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is the favorite.

Ohtani was listed on 29 of 30 ballots, cast by two writers representing each city in the American League. He received nine second-place votes, seven third-place votes, 12 fourth-place votes and one fifth-place vote. Verlander, runner-up Dylan Cease (Chicago White Sox) and third-place finisher Alek Manoah (Toronto) were named on every ballot.

Ohtani’s performance in the voting was a reflection of a season in which he improved across the board as a pitcher. Ohtani won 15 games with a 2.33 ERA and a league-leading 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He pitched 166 innings. Ohtani improved from 2021 in all four categories.

The 39-year-old Verlander, who also won the award in 2019 after winning both MVP and the Cy Young in 2011, becomes the 11th player to win it three times. He also won unanimously in 2011.

Roger Clemens holds the record with seven (six in the AL, one in the National League). Randy Johnson won five times (four in the NL, one in the AL) and Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux four times each (all in the NL). Other three-time winners: Max Scherzer (two in the NL, one in the AL), Clayton Kershaw (all in the NL), Pedro Martinez (two in the AL, one in the NL), Jim Palmer (all in the AL), Tom Seaver (all in the NL) and Sandy Koufax (all in the NL).

Verlander led the majors with a 1.75 ERA – the lowest of his 17-year career – after missing almost all of the previous two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. His 18 wins led the AL, and he had 185 strikeouts to give him 3,198 in his career, which ranks first among active players. He led the Astros to the best record in the AL, and while the postseason doesn’t count for the award, he got his first career World Series win in Game 5 as Houston beat Philadelphia in six games.

He becomes the fourth AL pitcher with two unanimous victories, joining Clemens (1986, 1998), Martinez (1999, 2000) and Johan Santana (2004, 2006).

Cease was 14-8 and ranked second to Verlander with a 2.20 ERA. He had a career-high 227 strikeouts and went 14 consecutive starts this summer without allowing more than one earned run.

Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in his second season. He had 180 strikeouts and went 4-0 with a 0.88 ERA in his last six starts to help the Blue Jays make the playoffs.

Ballots are tabulated on a system that rewards seven points for first place, four points for second place, three points for third place, two votes for fourth place and one point for fifth place. For full voting results, click here.

More to come on this story.

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