How Porcello beat out Verlander for AL Cy Young Award

The American League Cy Young Award talk should be about Orioles closer Zach Britton and his perfect 47-for-47 save season winning the hardware.

Instead, it was about starting pitchers making comebacks in one of the closest races in Cy Young history.

Boston's Rick Porcello, who had nine wins and a 4.92 ERA for the Red Sox in 2015, won the award by five points over Detroit's Justin Verlander, who re-established his elite status after two rocky seasons of injury, ineffectiveness and a declining fastball.

Porcello, a former teammate of Verlander's in Detroit, had 137 points, eight first-place votes and 16 second-place votes. Verlander had 14 first-place votes, but was left off two ballots, meaning two voters didn't think he was one of the top five pitchers in the league.

Cleveland's Corey Kluber finished third.

It was the second time Verlander lost in a close Cy Young vote. In 2012, he lost to Tampa Bay's David Price by four points.

But that wasn't the only close Cy Young race, and the Orioles have been involved in some of the tightest.

* In 1969, the Orioles' Mike Cuellar and the Tigers' Denny McLain tied for the award, the only time in history that's happened.

* In 1970, the Twins' Jim Perry won the award with 55 points followed by the Orioles' Dave McNally 47, the Indians' Sam McDowell 45 and the Orioles' Mike Cuellar 44.

* In 1972, the Indians' Gaylord Perry beat the White Sox's Wilbur Wood by eight points.

* The Orioles' Jim Palmer lost by eight points to the Yankees' Sparky Lyle in 1977.

* Three years later, the Orioles' Steve Stone beat the Athletics' Mike Norris for the award by nine points. Each received 13 first-place votes.

Verlander led the league with 256 strikeouts, the fourth time he has done so. His WHIP of 1.00 was the AL's lowest and his 3.04 ERA was second to Toronto's Aaron Sanchez.

Porcello's first season with Boston was a bust, and given his $80 million contract and a 4.92 ERA, the signing brought plenty of second-guessing.

But in his second season, Porcello carved out a different story.

Porcello was 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA for the Red Sox and pitched at least six innings in 30 starts, including 18 consecutive to finish the season.

Porcello had a tough spring for the Red Sox and that didn't ease any concerns they had going into the season. Porcello's ERA was 12.00 in the Grapefruit League.

But he got off to a good start in April - going 5-0 with a 2.96 ERA - and then kept steamrolling through the season.

And now he's beaten his former mentor for the AL Cy Young Award.

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