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Monday, September 10, 2012
Does anyone want to win a Cy Young?

By David Schoenfield

Some recent performances of Cy Young candidates:
Anyway, one guy holding his consistency has been R.A. Dickey, who is 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA over his past four starts and has passed Cueto as the NL ERA leader while ranking just behind Clayton Kershaw in innings and strikeouts. Kershaw has a 1.97 ERA over his past eight starts but his 12-8 record compared to Dickey's 18-4 is a strike against him. (Yes, we all know wins don't matter, but in an otherwise close race, they probably will.)

While Dickey has probably re-emerged as the NL favorite, it remains a crowded field: Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (1-1, 1.18 ERA, 35 saves) and Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez (18-7, 2.98) are in the mix alongside Dickey, Cueto, Chapman and Kershaw.

The AL race isn't any more clear. Verlander and Sale lead in WAR, but Verlander's 13-8 record won't blow away the voters and Sale has pitched a lot fewer innings than some of the other leading contenders. Nobody seems to be talking about Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney, but he's 2-2 with 42 saves and a 0.69 ERA.

You know my opinion on closers for the Cy Young, but Rodney has a chance to pass Dennis Eckersley for the lowest ERA for a pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched. Eck had a 0.61 ERA over 73.1 innings with the A's in 1990. He allowed nine runs and five earned runs -- Rodney's exact totals so far in 65.1 innings. So if Rodney can pitch 8.1 scoreless innings (or at least allow no earned runs), he'll pass Eckersley. And that will throw him in the Cy Young mix.