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Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants
Vogelsong very well could be in our top five next week, if certain pitchers continue their downward spiral. He is definitely one of the leading candidates for the NL Cy Young Award.
With a 2.26 ERA, Vogelsong is third in the league. He also ranks among the top 10 NL pitchers with a 1.11 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) and a .217 opponents' batting average.
Vogelsong has allowed just one run in each of his past two starts. In his 18 appearances this season, he's given up three runs or more only five times. Considering the few number of batters he strikes out (6.5 per nine innings), allowing so few runs is even more impressive.
Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals
Lynn flies back onto the radar after going missing for a few weeks (much to the dislike of his fans). Since a rough three-game stretch during which he gave up 17 runs and 25 hits in 15.1 innings, the Cards' almost-rookie has rebounded nicely.
In his past three starts, Lynn has allowed a total of one run. He's given up 14 hits in 19 innings while striking out 22 batters and walking just five.
Lynn ranks eighth among NL pitchers with a strikeout rate of 9.31 per nine innings. His 12-4 record and 3.10 ERA have surely exceeded what the Cardinals expected from him when he took Chris Carpenter's spot in the starting rotation.
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Should we just put the entire Giants starting rotation in these rankings? Oh, sorry—not you, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.
Bumgarner is right behind teammate Matt Cain with a 1.04 WHIP. His 121 strikeouts put him among the top 10 NL pitchers, as does his 3.10 ERA and .225 opponents' batting average.
Perhaps the most impressive number is Bumgarner's innings. He's been a workhorse, throwing 136.2 innings, the fourth-highest total in the NL. That workload has certainly helped his walks and hits per nine innings, each of which is among the 10 best rates in the league.