Will Jon Lester Win the AL Cy Young Award With Strong Second Half?

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Will Jon Lester Win the AL Cy Young Award With Strong Second Half? Aside from a slow April, which is becoming the norm for him, Jon Lester has proven to be the rock atop the Red Sox' rotation.

In a year that's been tumultuous to say the least, Lester has been one of — if not the — most consistent player on the Red Sox roster.

The Sox know that every time Lester takes the ball they have a chance to win, and more often than not, with Lester on the mound, the Red Sox do exactly that.

He takes the hill on Sunday in the finale of a four-game series with the Rangers looking to pick up win No. 12 on the year. Going into Sunday's start, Lester has posted an 11-3 record as well as an impressive 2.78 ERA.

Maybe most importantly, Lester has been a horse for the Red Sox. He's already logged 120 innings in his 18 starts. Twelve of the 18 starts have been quality starts, and if he's able to stay healthy, the big lefty will likely pass 200 innings for the third straight season.

With those numbers, Lester has proven he belongs in the conversation in regards to the best pitchers in the AL. His 11 wins rank second in the AL (Rays pitcher David Price and Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia both have 12), his ERA is sixth (Price leads the league at a 2.42 clip) and his 124 strikeouts rank fourth (the Angels' Jered Weaver has 142).

So while his numbers may not be the best in any category, Lester is near the top of every list. There are great Cy Young candidates in the AL. Not surprisingly, the AL East boasts some of the best. Price was tabbed as the starter for the All-Star Game, which was well-deserved given his great numbers. Sabathia has been the pitcher everyone has come to expect to him to be, and the Yankees' Phil Hughes is quickly developing into an elite pitcher.

And outside of the AL East, Cliff Lee was dominating for the Mariners and showed Saturday night why the Rangers gave up some of their best prospects for him when he nearly shut down the Red Sox over nine innings. If Lee can keep the Rangers at the top of the AL West, he has just as good a chance as any of the AL East pitchers to win the Cy Young.

But maybe Lester's strongest case for the AL Cy Young will be his contributions to a beat-up Red Sox team. They've struggled all year to keep their starters on the field, but one of the only constants has been the shut-down pitching of Lester — one of the game's premier left-handers. He's contributed all year and been one of the biggest the reasons the Red Sox still have any sort of chance at making the playoffs.

So if Lester can keep up what he started in the first half in the second half, and can stay healthy — no small feat with this year's team — will he be selected as the AL's Cy Young Award winner when awards are given out at season's end?

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