I decided that I wanted to take on the Cy Young candidates for this year because my hat is currently in the ring, so to speak. Although I’m the Orioles writer here, I’m also a noted long-suffering Mets fan, and I’ve got a candidate to back this time around!
That being said, it’s time to get this show on the road, so here are your three candidates for National League Cy Young Award.
R.A. Dickey, New York Mets: I’m not even going to lie about my bias here, because I’d absolutely love to see a knuckleballer — from a team I watch, nonetheless — take home the Cy Young. A knuckleballer has never won the coveted pitching prize, but perhaps this is the year.
Let’s talk about Dickey’s year for a minute here. He went 20-6 with the Mets. THE METS. That’s practically impossible in this day and age. He started 33 games and turned five of them into complete game performances, with three of those being complete game shutouts. In the 233.2 innings he pitched, he struck out 230 people whilst only walking 53 people, less than his two non-knuckleballer rivals. For a knuckleballer, a 2.73 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP are nothing to dismiss, either. The man was simply on fire this season.
That’s not to say that the other two weren’t on fire at all. It’s just really unusual to see a knuckleballer with such glowing stats.
Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals: The only nominee in the National League to see any postseason action this season, Gonzalez led them all in wins with 21 (he went 21-8). Wins don’t mean everything, of course, but you have to admit that 21 is a pretty shiny number. Gio started 32 games this season, completing two of them and making one of those complete games a shutout. Holding opponents to a .206 average, he notched a 2.89 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, racking up 207 strikeouts and walking 76 batters. Gonzalez played for a winning team this season (yes, it’s still a little weird to write that about the Nationals, I know), giving them 199.1 innings of work on the mound. In a year without R.A. Dickey, Gio would have stood out as the obvious choice for Cy Young, but he’s got some very stiff competition.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw may be the dark horse candidate this season, but he’s the only one in the field who’s won this thing before (which he did just one season ago in 2011). In 33 starts, Kershaw went a respectable 14-9 for the Dodgers, pitching two complete games that both happened to be shutouts. His 227.2 innings pitched this season saw 229 strikeouts and only 63 walks, and his 2.53 ERA and 1.02 WHIP are nothing to sneeze at.
Kershaw probably has the smallest chance at winning this season even though he won the Cy Young last year – R.A. Dickey pitches in a larger market (not that Los Angeles doesn’t like its baseball as much as New York does, but the eyes of the world tend to be on New York) and Gio Gonzalez won 21 games. As much as it’s not the best gauge for a pitcher’s stats, people sit up and take notice when a pitcher racks up a lot of wins. This looks like it’s going to be a two-horse race at this point, but Kershaw has a chance to sneak in and steal it out from under the other two’s noses. It’s just a very slim chance.
Anyhow, we’ll know who wins this one at 6 p.m., so let’s just be patient for a few more hours on this one.