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Everybody’s talking about R.A. Dickey, for a few good reasons. He’s having a great year and he’s got an incredible story. This 37-year-old is pitching better than he ever has in his life to date, and with the media exposure from his book and the shocking revelations of his childhood abuse, Dickey has become a media darling.
And, oh yeah, he’s crushing it on the mound. His 18-4 win-loss record is the best in the league. His WHIP of 1.03 is second-best in the league, as is his 2.64 ERA. And he’s tied for second in the NL in strikeouts with 195. No doubt about it: R.A. Dickey has the inside track on the 2012 Cy Young Award.
That said, there are a number of pitchers who could steal the award in the final days of the year. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has a record of just 12-8, but his 201 strikeouts and 1.02 WHIP are both best in the NL. With a few final strong starts and perhaps a surprise Dodgers playoff berth, Kershaw has a shot.
Fireballer Stephen Strasburg had an outside chance, but his run has admittedly been severely hamstrung by the decision of Nationals management to shut down the injury-prone youngster on Sept. 12.
Kyle Lohse could nab the award, too. His 14-2 record for the Cardinals is certainly impressive. However, he’s been the beneficiary of quite a bit of luck, and he’s not the dominant pitcher that the other candidates are. Witness his low strikeout totals.
Given the other pitchers' shortcomings, the man closest to Dickey in the NL Cy Young race may actually be the Reds’ Johnny Cueto.
A Dominican fireballer in his fifth year in the bigs, Cueto leads NL pitchers in ERA and WAR. Though Cueto has largely flown under the radar, if he reaches 20 wins and Dickey doesn't, there’s certainly a chance that fans might find Cueto, and not Dickey, atop the Cy Young podium come October.