Max Scherzer wins AL Cy Young Award

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Max Scherzer became the second Tiger in three years to claim the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, picking up 28 of the 30 first-place votes to easily outdistance the Rangers’ Yu Darvish and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma.

Darvish was second on 19 ballots to finish as the runner up to Scherzer. Iwakuma was third, getting just six picks for second place. Oddly, the two non-Scherzer first place votes didn’t go to either. Anibal Sanchez got one and finished fourth in the balloting. Chris Sale got the other and finished fifth.

With Miguel Cabrera expected to win his second straight MVP award tomorrow, Tigers players will have claimed five of the last six MVPs and Cy Young Awards handed out by AL voters. Justin Verlander won both MVP and Cy Young in 2011. Before that, the Tigers had been without a winner in either category since Willie Hernandez swept both awards in 1984.

The only non-Tiger to win AL MVP or Cy in the last three years was the Rays’ David Price in 2012.

Scherzer went 21-3, leading the AL in victories by three, to make his selection a no-brainer for a certain portion of the voters. But while the other stats don’t necessarily point to him as the AL’s best pitcher, they don’t clearly point to anyone else either. Scherzer finished fifth in the league in ERA at 2.90, but he did that it a hitter’s park with a poor defense behind him. He was also first in WHIP and second to Darvish in strikeouts. Fangraphs WAR had Scherzer as the AL’s top pitcher, while Baseball-reference WAR had Iwakuma first.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: