RA Dickey & the Most Deserving Candidates for the 2012 NL Cy Young Award
With just about three weeks left in the 2012 Major League Baseball season, the awards races are heating up about as much as the race for October.
In the American League, the MVP and Rookie of the Year are all but a foregone conclusion, likely going to Los Angeles Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout.
The Cy Young could be a toss up between Felix Hernandez and David Price, but for the most part, the list is short.
In the National League, there are a handful of pitchers that can make seriously strong bids for the Cy Young Award.
Here is a look at some of the most deserving.
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What is there not to like about Clayton Kershaw?
The Dodgers' ace is a big, power-pitching southpaw with a 12-9 record through 30 starts this season.
While the win/loss record can be important, it is certainly not a great measuring stick of quality of pitching. Kershaw's .212 batting average against is a great starting point.
He leads the NL in both innings pitched with 206.2 and strikeouts with 206. Beyond that, he has thrown two shutouts on the season.
Kershaw owns a 2.70 ERA and an NL-best 1.016 WHIP.
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R.A. Dickey has been the leader in the clubhouse for the NL Cy Young Award for a majority of the season, and rightfully so.
He's been an incredible pitcher and likely the NL Comeback Player of the Year award recipient.
Dickey is 18-5 with an NL-leading 2.68 ERA. Dickey had a rough month of August, going just 3-3 which caused him a loss of some momentum in the Cy Young race.
However, he has still managed to throw for 205 innings, striking out 197 while posting a 1.044 WHIP in his 29 starts.
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Despite not making the 2012 NL All-Star team, 33-year-old Kyle Lohse has been impressive this season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
He owns a 14-3 record which equates to an .824 winning percentage, the best in the NL.
Lohse has started 30 games for the Cards, managing 190 innings, striking out 124 batters. He owns a 1.089 WHIP, which is fourth in the NL this season.
While he doesn't have any shutouts, he does have a cool 2.81 ERA on a Cardinals team that appears to hit its stride at the right time every season.
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With the Washington Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg for the season, the ball is literally being handed over to Gio Gonzalez to guide the Nats through the postseason.
By all indications, he can handle that pressure.
He owns a 19-7 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP through 181.1 innings of work and 29 starts this season.
He leads the National League in both hits per nine innings at 6.8 and home runs per nine innings at 0.4.
In addition, Gonzalez has thrown one shutout this season. More impressively, batters are just managing a .206 batting average against him this year.
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A name that is passed over all too often has to be the Cincinnati Reds' ace Johnny Cueto.
Through 29 starts this season, Cueto owns a 17-8 record (a career high win total) with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.152 WHIP.
Batters have just hit .249 off of him in 192.2 innings of work. Cueto has struck out 155 batters along the way as well.
Cueto's 2.71 ERA is third in the NL. The biggest knock against Cueto has to be the 12 batters he's hit by a pitch this season.