What, you were expecting Oliver Perez?
This was a no-brainer, and there was very little dissent in the ranks: Roy Halladay received all 32 of the first place votes, easily beating out Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson, who finished in second through fifth place.
When the Phillies traded for him last winter the expectation was that Halladay would thrive upon moving to the weaker National League, and those expectations were met: He thew a perfect game on May 29th, and led the league in wins (21), complete games (9), shutouts (4), innings (250.2) while issuing the fewest walks per nine innings (1.1) and leading the NL in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.30). He was among the leaders in ERA (2.44, third) and strikeouts (219, second) as well. And of course, the threw a no-hitter in Game One of the NLDS, though that wasn’t reflected in the voting here due to the regular season vote-submission deadline. If that had been included there would have been loose talk of renaming the award after him.
In a career filled with fantastic performances, Halladay’s 2010 was his finest season as a professional. And there’s no reason to suspect that he won’t continue his humiliation of National League hitters when 2011 begins. Congratulations, Doc.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.