The thing about San Francisco's Tim Lincecum winning the National League Cy Young Award is, there is no wrong answer.
I believe Lincecum, who was dominant in going 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, is the right answer.
But Arizona's Brandon Webb, who won 22 games?
Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who was perfect in converting 41 saves in 41 chances?
Milwaukee's CC Sabathia, a late entrant who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA after joining Milwaukee in early July?
You can make a strong case for each. To me, the only surprise is that Lincecum was a runaway winner, garnering 137 points to Webb's 73. I pegged this one as far closer than it actually turned out.
Whatever the point totals, though, I do think Lincecum is the guy. I did have an NL Cy Young vote this year - the only postseason awards vote I had -- and on my ballot, I listed Lincecum first, Santana second and Webb third.
What separated Lincecum for me was that, in a year in which the award could have gone one of many directions, he was the most dominant. He led the NL with 265 strikeouts, blowing away Santana (206, tied for third) and Webb (183, not in the top 10). He led the NL in opponents batting-average-against (.221). He was tied for second in innings pitched (227; Santana was first at 234 1/3).
Santana was light on the wins total (16), but the combination of the ERA title and the fact that he would have had far more wins had the Mets' bullpen not blown seven save opportunities in games started by Santana leads to a serious legitimacy in Cy consideration.
Webb was the leader for much of the year, and his sinker is the most devastating in the game. But he faded toward year's end: His three-start stretch against the Dodgers (twice) and Padres late in the season in which he was pummeled for 22 hits and 21 runs (19 earned) over only 13 2/3 innings coincided with Arizona surrendering first place in the NL West.