I have to tell you, it's a bit of a shock that the pitcher who led the American League in innings, wins, ERA, strikeouts, ERA+, WHIP, games started, wins above replacement -- really, in everything old-school, new-school, and in between -- would take home the award for best pitcher. When you can put together a season that satisfies the progressive and the conservative, the nerd and the the Murray Chass, well, then you've got yourself a good chance of taking home hardware.
This was a decisive victory, too, as Verlander collected all but two first-place votes out of 24 cast, and earned second-place honors on those two ballots:
Sabathia was excellent as well, but was this good in a year where Verlander did all of the above. Verlander's best start of the season, according to Game Score, wasn't even his no-hitter: that honor goes to his 12 strikeout, two-hit and one-walk performance against the Cleveland Indians on June 14, where he went nine innings for the win and looked as impressive as I've ever seen him.
While Sabathia deserves some extra credit for pitching in a tougher division and facing more difficult competition on the year, it might not be enough to argue that he deserves this over Verlander. Sabathia picked up almost all of the second-place votes, except for the aforementioned Verlander ones, and five for Jered Weaver, who no one seems to notice is pretty awesome in his own right.