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Breaking down the AL Cy Young Candidates

After a convincing 9-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners, Josh Beckett earned his 14 win of the season, putting him at the top of the leaderboard with the Angels John Lackey and Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia. With just under two months left in the regular season, it makes me wonder what kind of chance our own ace has to taking home one of the American League's biggest awards: the Cy Young.

Beckett has been the best pitcher on the best team in baseball. It's that simple. But is that enough to win a Cy Young award? Let's break down the contenders as of August 5, 2007. This list is in no order whatsoever.

Dan Haren | Athletics | 13-3, 2.46 era

Haren, AL All-Star starter and ERA leader, will definitely earn some Cy Young votes if he can continue to pitch as well as he has. What will hurt him is the fact his team hasn't played well this season. The last time a team with a record below .500 had an AL Cy Young winner was 1997 when Roger Clemens won for the 76-86 Blue Jays.

Johan Santana | Twins | 11-9, 2.98 era

Don't ever count out Santana. He's pitching for the average Twins, but that doesn't mean he can't lead the league in every stat imaginable. Santana will continue to rack up the strikeouts, but the wins could hurt him in the end.

C.C. Sabatha | Indians | 14-6, 3.56 era

Sabathia has finally put it all together. He has allowed only 23 walks on the season versus 148 strikeouts. He has the wins and the Indians look like they could rebound. It's all adding up for Sabathia at this point.

Erik Bedard | Orioles | 12-4, 3.09 era

Nobody can figure out Bedard this season and it doesn't look like anyone will. He leads the AL in strikeouts and notched another 11 against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Unless an injury slows him, I don't think he'll stop blowing away batters. His Cy Young chance, though? I think it's slim as long as he wears an "O" on his hat.

J.J. Putz | Mariners | 32 saves, 1.38 era

If you're a Sox fan, you know how good this guy is. He'll blow away batters in the 9th (or 8th, even) and probably finish the season with at top of the saves chart. He'll certainly grab some Cy Young votes, too. What will help his chances, though, are if the rest of the Mariners stay hot and can knock off the Angels from top of the AL West.

John Lackey | Angels | 14-6, 3.11 era

Although he's not leading the league in any stat in particular, he's high on the list on most of them. Lackey will be a high vote getter, especially if the Angels can continue to walk away with the West. He is a work-horse, but I wouldn't expect his numbers to get much worse or much better for the rest of the second half.

Josh Beckett | Red Sox | 14-5, 3.31 era

Beckett's biggest asset is the fact that he plays on the best team in baseball. He's not a Devil Ray, a Royal, or a Sox of the white variety. It'll help his chances immensely. Beckett has a great shot to win 20 games and, if he does, he'll have a great shot at being the Sox's first Cy Young winner since Pedro Martinez in 2000.