Francisco Liriano has once again found the success that made him one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the beginning of his career. He has led the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first winning season since 1992; they also have a legitimate shot at winning the National League Central division.
At this point, there seems to be three front-runners for the NL Cy Young award, with one pitcher in particular standing out. Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the clear favorite at this point, with 14 wins and a 1.94 ERA. Wins shouldn’t be a major factor when voting for the Cy Young award, but it definitely is important to the voters. Kershaw also has the ability to rack up strikeouts and go deep into games. In 223 innings, he has a 8.64 K/9.
Liriano should be in second place right now for the award, with Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals not far behind. After missing the first month of the season, Liriano already has 16 wins for the Bucs. In 148 innings, Liriano has a 2.92 ERA and 9.00 K/9. Wainwright falls to third place because of the dominance of both Kershaw and Liriano. In a normal season, Wainwright would definitely be in the top two. In 221.2 innings, he has 16 wins and a 2.96 ERA with 8.16 K/9 and just 1.34 BB/9. All three pitchers have been great, but it seems obvious that Kershaw is the best of the three.
Any one of these three pitchers has a chance to win the award, but for Liriano or Wainwright to pass Kershaw, they will need to have two more great starts and Kershaw will have to struggle a bit in his final few outings.