Cy eludes Webb for a second year
Award's winner in '06, D-backs righty falls short of Lincecum
PHOENIX -- For the second year in a row, Brandon Webb came up just short.
On Tuesday, the D-backs right-hander finished second in the National League Cy Young Award voting with 73 points, placing behind the Giants' Tim Lincecum, who garnered 137 points.
"I would like to congratulate Tim on a tremendous year," Webb said in a statement given by his agent, Jonathan Maurer. "While I am disappointed I did not win, I am excited that with the help of my teammates I was able to win 22 games and be considered for this great honor again. With a first, second, second-place finish in the Cy Young voting the last three years I will be excited to get back out there again and make a good run in 2009. Most importantly, past my own personal statistics, I hope to lead the D-backs into the World Series next year. Again, congrats to Tim, he truly is a great pitcher."
The result was similar to last season, when Webb, who won the award in 2006, finished second behind the Padres' Jake Peavy.
Webb led the league in wins with 22, four more than Lincecum, who was 18-5. Voters apparently focused on Lincecum's edge in ERA, which was 2.62 to 3.30, and strikeouts, which were 265-183.
"I'm biased toward my guy," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said toward the end of the 2008 season. "If I had a vote, it would go to Brandon. He gave us good outings every time out and pitched in a pennant race."
Webb had an outstanding start to the 2008 season, as he went 9-0 in his first nine starts to become the first pitcher in the game to do so in 23 years.
The 29-year-old Webb finished the season on a three-game winning streak, but he missed an opportunity to bolster his Cy Young case on the next-to-last day of the season, when he allowed four runs in seven innings against the Cardinals at Chase Field.
Webb also had an eight-decision win streak during the season, but it was a losing streak in late August and early September that really hurt his Cy Young odds. Webb struggled with his trademark sinker during a three-start stretch in which he went 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA.
Another win or two for Webb may have been too many for the voters to overlook.
Webb did not win the award despite having the most victories. But he lost the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2003 to then-Marlins lefty Dontrelle Willis in large part because Willis was 14-6, while Webb, who had more strikeouts and a better ERA, was 10-9.
|2008 NL Cy Young Award Voting|
|Tim Lincecum, SF||23||7||1||137|
|Brandon Webb, ARI||4||15||8||73|
|Johan Santana, NYM||4||8||11||55|
|Brad Lidge, PHI||1||7||10|
|CC Sabathia, MIL||1||1||1||9|
|Ryan Dempster, CHC||4||4|
"I've kind of been on both sides of it," Webb said in September. "It went one way one year, and we'll find out how it goes [this year]. I had Dontrelle in just about every category except for wins."
Back in September, Webb praised Lincecum for the season that he had but wondered what exactly the criteria was for the award.
"Do you go on strikeouts?" Webb asked. "Not everybody is going to be a strikeout pitcher. It's a good category. A half-point of ERA is going to separate us probably. Is that a lot? Not really, so I don't know. We'll see."
Webb also got an up-close look at how teammate Randy Johnson lost out on the 2004 NL Cy Young Award to the Astros' Roger Clemens. Johnson was 16-14 with a 2.60 ERA that year for a team that lost 111 games. Clemens, meanwhile, was 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA for a team that won 92 games. Johnson also had more strikeouts than Clemens, 290-218, but finished second in the balloting.
"Roger killed him in the voting," Webb said of the 140-97 margin. "And R.J. had him in every category, and it was a matter of one or two wins. R.J. should have won it. That's why you never know which way it's going to go. You don't know what they're looking at or what way it's going to go."
Webb still may not know exactly what the voters are looking for, but he does know which way this year's vote went, and it wasn't in his direction.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.