On the heels of last night's stellar 15 strikeout performance (which wasn't even his best performance of the season), it's time for the newspaper-writin' voters to collude and ensure that Zack Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award. Even if he spends September losing to the middling Twins and brooding and being all emo, this small market employee has shown mastery in 2009. He deserves the award based not just on merit but also on sympathies. Plus it would help Joe Posnanski sell books.
Zack's closest rivals have faded of late despite their presence on contending teams. Detroit's Justin Verlander went 2-2 with a 4.29 ERA in August. Boston's Josh Beckett has given up a whopping 10 home runs in his last three starts and seen his ERA increase by half a run. Seattle's Felix Hernandez lost to the Indians. Also fading despite his presence on a fourth place team: Roy Halladay, who faced only AL East rivals in August and posted a mediocre 4.50 ERA.
Greinke himself has earned only two wins since July 1st, but let's take a step back and realize that he's gotten just 30 runs of support from the Royals in ten starts, and that includes a twelve-run assault on the Oakland pitching staff. Give 1968 Bob Gibson just three runs of support a game and even he won't notch 20 wins. Zack has 197 strikeouts against 39 walks in 181 innings. This is really good, and his outstanding performance just does not show up in his middling 12-8 record.
But most importantly, a Cy Young win would provide an extra level of insurance that one day, Zack Greinke may be able to pull a Johnny Damon and escape the miasma that is Kansas City. He's tied to the town until 2012 after signing a four year, $38 million contract in January but will only be 29 when that deal expires, the same age as CC Sabathia when he got his "eff you money" deal with the Yankees.
With each Cy Young Award in his trophy case, Greinke's price goes up geometrically. And with every dollar that Greinke's price goes up, the Royals get played out of the picture a little itty bit more. Not that I have a problem with Kansas Citizens or Royals fans, but really, don't those fans want to see great players like Greinke succeed?
(picture purloined from Josh at With Leather, who dropped this awesome line today: "Most guys go five innings and they start looking into the dugout like some 9-year-old that got lost in a mall")