ST. LOUIS -- For the third time in his career, Adam Wainwright cracked a top-three finish in the Cy Young Award voting. He is, however, still seeking his first finish on top.
Based on votes cast by 30 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Wainwright was beaten out for the 2013 honor by Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw. The announcement was made Wednesday evening during a one-hour show on MLB Network.
Kershaw received 29 first-place votes and a second-place one for a point total of 207. Wainwright took the other first-place vote -- one that was cast by a writer based in Cincinnati -- and finished with 86 points. Miami's Jose Fernandez, the Rookie of the Year winner, came in third with 63 points.
This marked the second time Wainwright has finished as the runner-up in the Cy Young race.
Wainwright was a worthy candidate, as he led all NL pitchers in starts (34), innings pitched (241 2/3), wins (19), complete games (five) and shutouts (two). For the third time in his career, Wainwright posted an ERA below 3.00. His 2.91 mark in 2013 was seventh-best among NL starters. He was recently recognized for his defense, too, claiming the second Gold Glove Award of his career.
Kershaw, however, was the clear head of the NL class. He posted a league-low 1.83 ERA, the lowest ERA in Major League Baseball since Pedro Martinez had a 1.74 mark in 2000. Kershaw was also the NL's only pitcher to rank in the top three in wins (16), ERA, strikeouts (232) and innings pitched (236).
Wainwright, the ace of a strong St. Louis staff, ranked third in the NL with a career-high 219 strikeouts. During the season, he passed Carpenter and Dizzy Dean to move into second place on the Cardinals' all-time franchise strikeouts list. Only Gibson still sits ahead of him.
While his strikeout numbers were up, his walk total remained characteristically low. He issued 35, the third-fewest among all starters with at least 200 innings pitched. He ranked second in the Majors with 1.3 walks per nine innings and seventh with a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 1.07. Wainwright opened his season with 34 2/3 innings before issuing his first free pass.
In a rotation that had several young starters not yet ready to break the 200-innings mark, Wainwright was the workhorse. He made 26 quality starts (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs allowed), the second-most in the NL.
Wainwright, 32, made a run at the Cy Young Award in each of his last two pre-surgery seasons but fell short both times in the voting. He had a third-place finish in a tight three-pitcher race in '09 even though Wainwright garnered more first-place votes than the two pitchers (Tim Lincecum and Carpenter) who finished ahead of him. A year later, he finished second behind Roy Halladay.
Wainwright's second-place Cy Young finish comes two days after Shelby Miller came in third in the Rookie of the Year voting. On Thursday, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will learn his place in the MVP race. Molina is already assured of the first top-three MVP finish of his career.