Yu Darvish’s bid for his first career Cy Young Award came up just short.
The Cubs right-hander finished second in the National League voting, with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America naming Reds ace Trevor Bauer the winner on Wednesday — Cincinnati's first ever winner.
Mets starter Jacob deGrom, the 2018 and ’19 winner, finished third.
Bauer, who led NL starters in both ERA (1.73) and WHIP (0.795), and was second in strikeouts (100) to deGrom, earned 27 of 30 first-place votes, garnering 201 points. Darvish received 123 points and three first-place votes, while deGrom earned 89 points (zero first-place votes).
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks finished ninth, receiving two fifth-place votes.
Darvish’s 2021 salary increases by $1 million for being a finalist, up to $23 million.
Darvish picked up where he left off after a dominant 2019 second half, tossing 10 quality starts in 12 tries. The 34-year-old sported a 2.01 ERA and 0.961 WHIP — second and third in the NL. He struck out 93 batters (14 walks) in 76 innings.
Darvish also made history in the shortened season, finishing tied for first in baseball in wins (eight) with Cleveland’s Shane Bieber — the first Japanese pitcher to accomplish the feat.
Entering a second matchup against Bauer and the Reds on Sept. 9, Darvish appeared to be the favorite for the award. He held a 1.44 ERA at the time, compared to Bauer’s 2.05. But Bauer threw 7 2/3 shutout innings, part of a September in which he allowed just five earned runs in five starts.
Darvish countered with six innings of two-hit, three-earned-run ball, another quality start. It was the first of a three-start stretch in which he allowed nine earned runs total, however, bumping his ERA north of 2.
Still, Darvish pitched like the ace the Cubs imagined when they signed him to a lucrative six-year deal in February 2018. He did it during a pandemic after expressing fears of COVID-19 as far back as spring training. In fact, he said in summer camp he “was ready to go home” if the Cubs hadn’t taken the virus seriously.
Two years ago, the narrative around Darvish wasn’t great following an injury-riddled debut season in Chicago. Now, he’s a foundation piece for the Cubs rotation, a Cy Young caliber arm under contract for the next three years.