R.A. Dickey has given the Mets their first serious Cy Young Award candidate since Johan Santana was third in the 2008 voting. But for him to become the team's first winner of the award since Dwight Gooden in 1985, he'll have to beat out reigning champ Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez. The winner will be revealed at 6 p.m. today on MLB Network. Here's a look at the pros and cons of all three.
The knuckleballer, who turned 38 on Oct. 29, led NL in strikeouts (230) as the Mets first 20-game winner since Frank Viola 22 years ago. He was also the first 20-game winner on a losing team since Roger Clemens in 1997, in which he won the AL Cy Young. He's well-liked in the media and his story makes him easy to root for, but the stigma surrounding his pitch might be a hindrance in earning votes.
The Dodgers ace won the award as a 23-year-old last year with an impressive stat line (21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 strikeouts). While his 14-9 record this season shouldn't hurt his case too much, his 2.53 ERA and 229 strikeouts just aren't as dominant compared to the rest of the field. In a tight race, his previous win may not be enough of an edge.
In his first year in the NL, the 27-year-old Gonzalez took the next step as he cemented his place as one of the top southpaws in the game. He posted career bests in wins (21), ERA (2.89) and strikeouts (207) while cutting down his walks by 20% from a year ago. It was a terrific season, but the fact that teammate Stephen Strasburg was better for most of the season cuts into the argument for him.
Ultimately, Dickey's season was the most memorable among NL pitchers this season. He was denied the chance to start the All-Star Game even after posting consecutive one-hitters in the first half of the year, but he won't be denied the Cy Young hardware.