Matt Kemp & Clayton Kershaw Face Long Odds In Award Season

If Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw each finish in the top three in the National League MVP and Cy Young awards, respectively, it will be quite a feat.

Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw face an uphill climb in these last four weeks of the season. Each are having award-worthy seasons, but the Dodgers have a losing record at 64-70. At the very least, even if Kemp or Kershaw don't win the National League MVP or Cy Young awards, just finishing among the top three would be quite an accomplishment.

Since the three-divisional era began in 1994, the same team has had someone in the top three of both MVP and Cy Young awards 33 times. Three times a team had the winner of both awards: the 2006 Twins (Justin Morneau, Johan Santana), the 2005 Cardinals (Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter), and the 2002 A's (Miguel Tejada, Barry Zito). But more importantly, 30 of the 33 teams with a pair of top three finishers made the playoffs, and all but one team had a winning record.

Teams with Top 3 MVP & Cy Young 1994-2010
Year Team Record Playoffs MVP Cy Young
2010 Rockies 83-79 no Gonzalez (3) Jimenez (3)
2010 Yankees 95-67 yes Cano (3) Sabathia (2)
2009 Cardinals 91-71 yes Pujols (1) Carpenter (2), Wainwright (3)
2007 Angels 94-68 yes Guerrero (3) Lackey (3)
2006 Cardinals 83-78 yes Pujols (1) Carpenter (3)
2006 Twins 96-66 yes Morneau (1) Santana (1)
2006 Yankees 97-65 yes Jeter (2) Wang (2)
2005 Angels 95-67 yes Guerrero (3) Colon (1)
2005 Yankees 95-67 yes Rodriguez (1) Rivera (2)
2005 Cardinals 100-62 yes Pujols (1) Carpenter (1)
2004 Yankees 101-61 yes Sheffield (2) Rivera (3)
2004 Red Sox 98-64 yes Ramirez (3) Schilling (2)
2003 Blue Jays 86-76 no Delgado (2) Halladay (1)
2003 Giants 100-61 yes Bonds (1) Schmidt (2)
2002 A's 103-59 yes Tejada (1) Zito (1)
2001 A's 102-60 yes Giambi (2) Mulder (2)
2001 Mariners 116-46 yes Ichiro (1), Boone (3) Garcia (3)
2001 Diamondbacks 92-70 yes Gonzalez (3) Johnson (1), Schilling (2)
2000 A's 91-70 yes Giambi (1) Hudson (2)
1999 Red Sox 94-68 yes Martinez (2) Martinez (2)
1999 Braves 103-59 yes C.Jones (1) Millwood (3)
1999 Diamondbacks 100-62 yes Williams (3) Johnson (1)
1999 Astros 97-65 yes Bagwell (2) Hampton (2)
1998 Red Sox 92-70 yes Garciaparra (2) Martinez (2)
1998 Yankees 114-48 yes Jeter (3) Wells (3)
1997 Mariners 90-72 yes Griffey (1) Johnson (2)
1995 Mariners 79-66 yes Martinez (3) Johnson (1)
1995 Indians 100-44 yes Belle (2) Mesa (2)
1995 Red Sox 86-58 yes Vaughn (1) Wakefield (3)
1995 Reds 85-59 yes Larkin (1) Schourek (3)
1995 Braves 90-54 yes Maddux (3) Maddux (1), Glavine (3)
1994 Mariners 49-63 no Griffey (2) Johnson (3)
1994 Expos 74-40 yes Alou (3) Hill (2)

The 2010 Rockies (Carlos Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez), the 2003 Blue Jays (Carlos Delgado, Roy Halladay), and 1994 Mariners (Ken Griffey, Randy Johnson) are the only non-playoff teams of the bunch. There were no playoffs in 1994, but I'm counting a team's place at the end of the season. The 1994 Expos had the best record in baseball, so I'm counting them as a playoff team.

Those 1994 Mariners were the only one of the 33 teams with a top three MVP and Cy Young with a losing record. The 1995 Mariners (79-66 in a strike-shortened season) and 2006 Cardinals (83-79) were the only playoff teams playing at an under-90-win pace. The 33 teams had a cumulative winning percentage of .596, a 96-win pace over a 162-game season.

If the Dodgers manage to have Kemp and Kershaw finish in the top three in, or even win, their respective awards, while finishing with a middling record at best, it will be very rare.

Lineups

Eugenio Velez, 0-for-28 as a Dodger and 0-for-37 dating back to last season, gets the start at second base on waiver deadline day.

The Padres, who used four relievers to pitch 6 1/3 innings Tuesday night, recalled reliever Brad Brach from Triple A Tucson before today's game, optioning outfielder Blake Tekotte to make room. Center fielder Cameron Maybin, who had an MRI on his right wrist on Tuesday in San Diego, is back with the team.

Padres   Dodgers
CF Venable
SS
Sellers
3B Forsythe
LF
Gwynn
1B Guzman
CF
Kemp
LF Blanks
RF
Rivera
2B Hudson
3B
Blake
SS Gonzalez
1B
Loney
RF Cunningham

C
Barajas
C Johnson
2B
Velez
P
LeBlanc

P
Lilly

Game Time: 12:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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