What looked to be a riveting two-man race for the NL Cy Young Award during the final two weeks of the 2012 season has now probably been called due to injury.
Clayton Kershaw's hip injury has likely eliminated R.A. Dickey's closest competition for the award. No other contender is really close enough to give Dickey a run at this point of the season. Unless he pitches disastrously in his final three starts, he will very likely win.
One pitcher who was nudged out of this week's top five is the Cincinnati Reds' Johnny Cueto. Cueto appeared to be the next best contender for the award, but he has fallen off the pace in a big way over his past three starts, giving up 14 runs in 15.1 innings. Thus far through September, his ERA is 8.22.
That presents an opportunity for someone else to break back into this week's rankings. But it's a familiar face who has contended for Cy Young Award honors all season.
In our view, these are the five current leading contenders for the NL Cy Young Award. Everyone else is probably pitching for runner-up status now.
All statistics mentioned here are current as of Sept. 20.