With such pitchers as Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter the NL Cy Young Award race is shaping up to be sensational. That doesn't even include all of the wild cards who have (possibly) underperformed or (probably) overperformed (Jaime Garcia, Barry Zito, Livan Hernandez, Brad Penny, Roy Oswalt, Matt Cain, Mike Pelfrey, Dan Haren, Johan Santana, Jonathan Sanchez).
There could easily be several pitchers who will lose in the NL that would have otherwise won in the AL this year (sorry, Roy).
But, especially with the guys at the top (Jimenez, Lincecum, Halladay, Wainwright, Carpenter), there is a chance for a larger-than-normal number of 20-win seasons. Since there were three 20-game winners in the NL in 2005 (Dontrelle Willis, Chris Carpenter, Brandon Webb), there has been only one 20 win season since in the NL (Webb in 2008).
Beyond 20 wins, these are guys who are capable of getting over 200 strikeouts too. If 3 of them of them actually do it (20 wins + 200 SO), it would be highly unusual for the NL. Winning 20 games is very difficult, even for the best pitchers, but there might be something special about this crop of pitchers in 2010. It's only the beginning of May, but the stars may be lining up for an incredible season of pitching in the NL (and, who knows, maybe they can shut down the AL in the All-Star game too):
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NL (2 Pitchers): 20 W, 200 SO (Since 1971)
1971 Fergie Jenkins, Tom Seaver
1972 Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver
1976 Jerry Koosman, J.R. Richard
2001 Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling
2002 Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling
The last time there were 3 was 1970 (Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry). In 1969, there were 6 (!) (Gibson, Jenkins, Seaver, Marichal, Bill Singer, Larry Dierker). There were also 6 in 1965 (Drysdale, Koufax, Gibson, Marichal, Tony Cloninger, Jim Maloney)