Expectations have been high for Zack Greinke ever since he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2012. He was expected to show the form that made him the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2009.
He got off to a good start by shutting out the Pittsburgh Pirates and looked sharp. It was disappointing that Greinke got injured when he did. The Dodgers went through the rough stretch in the middle of the season and needed him to come back.
When Greinke came back, the Dodgers' ace performed magnificently. With Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, he has contributed to their resurgence. He has put himself in the National League Cy Young conversation with some of the best pitching of his career.
Greinke struggled after returning from his injury. His ERA spiked from a 1.62 to a 4.80 in June. It stabilized into the high threes and low fours as he was returning to form. July is where the turnaround really began.
His ERA after his July 3 start against the Colorado Rockies was 4.30. After his September 22 start, Greinke's ERA is at 2.67. Over his past 14 starts, he has given up more than two runs only once. His record is 15-3.
Some may say it is because he has gotten good run support. The numbers he has put up show that he has earned the vast majority of those wins.
He should get a few votes because of his sterling ERA, which is fourth best in the National League. It is also because of the remarkable streak that he has had in the last half of the season.
That being said, the month that he missed may stop him from getting anything. Jose Fernandez may have similar trouble because he was shut down a few weeks ago. I don't think that innings limits or injuries should disqualify a player from an award if someone has played as well as Greinke and Fernandez have.
He has been so good that the smaller amount of innings should not be a factor.
It is a given that Kershaw will win the Cy Young. He has had another masterful season. There are other contenders such as Adam Wainwright and Madison Bumgarner who have more innings pitched than Greinke does, which lets them generate better stats.
Greinke should not be overshadowed when the voting comes because of that. He has had by far his best season since 2009. His production should get him into the Cy Young conversation, and he proved that he is still a great pitcher.
All stats courtesy of Zack Greinke's ESPN profile page.
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