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K-Rod comes in sixth in AL MVP voting

K-Rod comes in sixth in AL MVP voting

ANAHEIM -- After a record-setting season, closer Francisco Rodriguez finished sixth in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player award, five days after finishing third in the AL Cy Young award balloting.

Boston's Dustin Pedroia won the AL MVP award, a year after winning the Rookie of the Year award. The second baseman won handily, getting 16 of the 28 first-place votes.

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau finished second, Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis finished third, Twins catcher Joe Mauer finished fourth and White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin finished fifth.

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Rodriguez garnered one second-place vote and two third-place votes but finished with 143 points, well off Pedroia's winning total of 317 points.

Fellow Angels Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Teixeira also received votes for the award. Guerrero received two seventh-place votes, two eighth-place votes and one ninth-place vote to finish 14th in the voting. Teixeira, who was dealt to the Angels before the Trade Deadline, received one 10th-place vote to finish 23rd.

Even though Rodriguez saved 62 games to shatter Bobby Thigpen's single-season record of 57 saves, K-Rod still had an uphill battle to climb to win the MVP award. Just four closers have won the MVP award since 1950, and Thigpen finished fifth in 1990 after breaking the record.

But it was still an impressive season for the right-handed closer from Venezuela. Aside from the saves, K-Rod also had a 2.24 ERA and 77 strikeouts over 68 1/3 innings.

Rodriguez also helped the Angels to 100 wins with his 62 saves, as he had one more save than the division-rival Mariners had wins.

Of course, he wouldn't have been able to accomplish his impressive feat without his team playing in close games, but he thrived in those situations. The Angels won 63 games by one or two runs and K-Rod saved 51 of them while picking up the victory in two others.

2008 AL MVP Award Voting
Player, Club 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Dustin Pedroia, BOS 16 6 4 1             317
Justin Morneau, MIN 7 7 6 3 3 1 1       257
Kevin Youkilis, BOS 2 4 4 9 2 4 1 2     201
Joe Mauer, MIN 2 8 1 3 4 3 3 2 1   188
Carlos Quentin, CWS   1 4 8 4 4 4   1 1 160
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA 1 2 6 1 6   3 2   2 143
Josh Hamilton, TEX     2 2 3 7 3 2 4 3 112
Alex Rodriguez, NYY         1 1 4 1 4 7 45
Carlos Pena, TB     1   2   2 3 2 3 44
Grady Sizemore, CLE           2 1 5 6 1 42
Evan Longoria, TB           2 2 5 2 1 38
Cliff Lee, CLE       1 1 1 1   1   24
Miguel Cabrera, DET           1   1 4 1 17
Vladimir Guerrero, LAA             2 2 1   16
Jermaine Dye, CWS         1     2   2 14
Aubrey Huff, BAL           1     2 3 12
Milton Bradley, TEX           1 1       9
Jason Bartlett, TB         1           6
Mike Mussina, NYY               1     3
Raul Ibanez, SEA                   1 1
Ian Kinsler, TEX                   1 1
Ichiro Suzuki, SEA                   1 1
Mark Teixeira, LAA                   1 1

"It's been an amazing season," Rodriguez said on the last day of the regular season. "I have to thank my teammates for making it possible. You can't close games unless your teammates give you the opportunity."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia campaigned for K-Rod to be a candidate for the award on the last day of the regular season because of his direct impact on 76 games during the season.

"I think a reliever in Francisco's role has more to do with a team's standing than one starting pitcher does," Scioscia said. "He pitched in 76 games, and a starting pitcher has pitched 30. And he affected the outcome of 62 games, so that's a major impact on the team. So absolutely, he should be considered for MVP."

Guerrero and Teixeira combined to form one of the top hitting duos in baseball after Teixeira was traded to the Angels on July 29.

Teixeira was a force once he joined the Angels, as he batted .358 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs in 53 games.

And Guerrero benefited from having Teixeira in the lineup, as he finished strong down the stretch to end his season with a .303 batting average with 27 homers and 91 RBIs.

Guerrero, who won the 2004 AL MVP award, kept his own personal streak alive, batting at least .300 with 25 home runs for the 11th straight season to tie Lou Gehrig's all-time record.

"Vlad's been a model of consistency," Scioscia said. "Vlad's numbers are off the charts, and he does it every year."

Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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