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Toronto's Robbie Ray, Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes named Cy Young award winners

Robbie Ray is first Toronto pitcher to win
FILE - Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes

2021 Cy Young winners Robbie Ray (L) of the Toronto Blue Jays and Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers. (Photo credits: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images | AP/Bryan Woolston)

Gerrit Cole had a first-rate regular season. But the Yankees ace finished second to Toronto’s Robbie Ray in voting for the AL Cy Young award that was released on Wednesday night.

Ray, who is a free agent, was named first on 29 of 30 ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Cole picked up one first-place vote and 29 seconds. Overall, Ray finished with 207 points to Cole’s 123.

Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes won a much tighter NL race, beating former Met and current Phillie Zack Wheeler, 151-141. Both pitchers earned 12 first-place votes, but Burns outpaced Wheeler in second-place votes, 14-9.

Ray went 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA and a major-league leading 248 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays.

Cole went 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA and 243 strikeouts in 181 1/3 innings. His regular season numbers might have been better had Cole not been affected by MLB’s sticky substances ban (which began in late June) and a late-season hamstring injury.

It’s the second time Cole finished second in Cy Young voting. He was beaten out by then-Houston teammate Justin Verlander for the AL award in 2019. Cole has finished in the top five five times in his nine-year career.

Cole’s disastrous start in the Yankees’ season-ending 6-2 loss in the AL wild card game at Fenway Park did not factor into the voting, which only considers the regular season. In that game, Cole went two-plus innings and allowed three runs.

The lone first-place vote for Cole was cast by Jason Beck, the Detroit Tigers beat writer for MLB.com.

In the NL race, Burnes went 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 234 strikeouts in 167 innings. Wheeler went 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA and 247 strikeouts in 213 1/3 innings.

Max Scherzer, who went a combined 15-4, 2.46 for the Nationals and Dodgers, finished third with 113 points (six first-place votes).

Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who went 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts in a season that ended on July 7 because of a mysterious shoulder injury, received one fifth-place vote, good for one total point. That vote was cast by Zach Buchanan, the Arizona Diamondbacks reporter for The Athletic.

Verlander agrees to deal

Verlander has agreed to a $25 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros that includes a conditional $25 million player option for a second season. Verlander became a free agent after he was paid $66 million the past two seasons under an agreement with the Astros. He played just one game in that span after injuring his elbow in the 2020 season opener. Verlander had Tommy John surgery in October 2020 and said earlier this year that his rehabilitation was going well. The 38-year-old righthander is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and the 2011 AL MVP. Verlander spent his first 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers before being traded to the Astros in August 2017 and helping them to the World Series title that season.

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