Chris Carpenter was named the National League Cy Young Award winner on Thursday, beating out Dontrelle Willis of the Marlins and Roger Clemens of the Astros. Carpenter, who finished the regular season with a 21-5 record and a 2.83 ERA, became the first St. Louis Cardinal to win the award, since Bob Gibson won it in 1970 (he also won it in 1968).
Carpenter totaled 132 points (five for a first place vote, three for a second place vote and one for a third place vote), Willis had 112 and Clemens had 40. It was the closest race since 1998, when the Braves’ Tom Glavine beat the Padres’ Trevor Hoffman by 11 points.
On June 8, the Cardinals fell to the Red Sox 4-0 and Carpenter, who allowed three earned runs that night, was charged with the loss. He didn’t lose again until September 23, when he surrendered nine earned runs to the Brewers. In that stretch of 18 starts, Carpenter went 13-0. The Cardinals went 17-1 during Carpenter’s dominant run.
Carpenter finished with seven complete games and four shut outs. He was the only NL pitcher in the top five in wins (2nd), strikeouts (3rd), ERA (5th) and innings pitched (2nd).
The award certainly comes after a long journey back for Carpenter. In 2002 Carpenter, who was pitching for Toronto, had to end his season early with a shoulder ailment. He was released at the end of the season and signed by the Cardinals. Carpenter didn’t pitch again until the 2004 season and went 15-5, earning the N.L. Comeback Player of the Year Award.