The Philadelphia Phillies have been one of the great stories in baseball this season. Under new manager Gabe Kapler, the Phillies are not only in contention to win a wild-card spot in the National League, but potentially the N.L. East division crown.
Two of the main reasons why the Phillies have played well this year is due to a patient approach at the plate and stellar starting pitching.
When you think of how great the Phillies' starting pitching has been this season, the first guy that comes to mind is Aaron Nola.
Nola is dominating the competition and cementing himself as one of the best young pitchers not only in the National League but in the game of baseball.
This season, the Phillies' ace has a record of 11-2 with an ERA of 2.41 to go along with 116 strikeouts over 116 innings pitched. Simply put, the fourth-year pitcher is excelling on the mound.
With the way, he is pitching, could Nola possibly win the N.L. Cy Young Award? It is definitely feasible, but Nola does have some stiff competition, he is going up against.
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Most of that competition comes from his own division as both Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer and New York Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom have dominated on the mound.
Scherzer is putting together another masterful performance this season for the Nationals. The 33-year old has a record of 11-5 with an ERA of 2.33, plus 177 strikeouts over 127.2 innings pitched.
With those types of numbers, the former two-time N.L. Cy Young Award winner is the frontrunner of this group.
This season, Scherzer also leads the National League with an eye-popping 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Nola, however, only has 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings, which isn't bad at all.
But what about deGrom? If he could actually get some run support, then his W-L record would look better than it does now (5-4). Outside of his record, deGrom has been a lone bright for the Mets this season.
He leads the National League with an ERA of 1.79 and boasts 142 strikeouts over 115.1 innings pitched. Just like Scherzer, he has a high strikeout per nine innings with 11.1, placing him fourth in the N.L.
In addition to those three pitchers, you cannot forget about Jon Lester with the Chicago Cubs.
Lester is having a fine season himself with a record of 11-2 and an ERA of 2.25. However, unlike the three other N.L. East, he does not have a high amount of strikeouts with 79 over 100 innings pitched.
Nevertheless, this is the competition that Nola faces if he wants to capture his first N.L. Cy Young Award.
It will not be easy as the other three pitchers have great accolades and stats attached to their names. But what could work in Nola's favor is if he help can propel the Phillies to the playoffs.
Philadelphia is a year ahead of schedule and if they can continue their hot play throughout the rest of the season with Nola leading the charge, it would be tough to overlook him in the Cy Young race.