San Francisco sophomore Tim Lincecum (18-6, 2.62 ERA, 265 K’s) was named winner of the NL’s 2008 Cy Young Award yesterday, claiming 23 of 32 first place votes and receiving 2nd or 3rd place votes on every ballot…except for the one submitted by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca.  The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea gave the holdout a chance to explain himself (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

“It’s funny because toward the end of the season, in early September, I was thinking Lincecum would be in my top two,” De Luca said. “I thought Webb’s victories (22) stood out to me more than anything, and Lincecum didn’t have the victories. Twenty victories was a big deal. We had a stretch there where no one was hitting 20.

“Santana (undefeated after June 28) stood out because there was so much pressure not just being in New York, but to be who he is. With Lidge being a perfect closer (41-for-41 in save chances), that was a tough pick for me, not to pick him No. 1.”

Regarding the lone Lincecum-less ballot, De Luca joked, “He’s not going to be traded to the Cubs this week, is he?”

Though I’m not offended by Lidge or Santana receiving runner-up votes, it’s much harder to understand why De Luca believes an individual award should have so much to do with the Cy Young winner’s run support.  But  if wins really are that important a criteria, doesn’t 18 victories for a 72 win team stack up pretty well?