By now, every angle of the American League Cy Young Award race has been examined.
The general consensus is that old-school baseball voters covet wins too much and new-school writers are attempting to usher in the new sabermetric age in respect to player evaluation.
Old schoolers will have you believe that C.C. Sebathia's 18 wins in the AL East or Justin Verlander's 16 wins in the midst of a pennant race qualify them more than Greinke.
However, besides Greinke, only Felix Hernandez has an ERA below 3.00, and the Royals' ace is rapidly approaching 2.00.
In his worst two-month stint of the season, June and July, Zack Greinke went 2-5 despite an ERA of 3.14, 65 K, and 16 BB.
(If Greinke's highest two-month ERA total of 3.14 was actually his ERA for the year, he would still rank 20th in all of baseball—just below Johan Santana's 3.13.)
Besides, what does offensive production and game outcome have to do with pitching?
Zack dominated despite the Royals' offensive ineptness.
Greinke's line going into Tuesday's start against the Red Sox looked quite impressive:
14-8 record/2.14 ERA/224 strikeouts/44 walks/1.06 WHIP
Then, all he did was go out there—against the mighty AL East that Sabathia and Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett get all the props in the world for facing—and throw six innings of two-hit shutout ball.
It just doesn't matter to Greinke:
He's facing a good team, he's facing a bad team.
His offense scores runs, his offense doesn't score runs.
He's on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he's on the cover of the Kansas City Star.
All he does is go out and pitch. He appears to be a man on a mission.
No matter if his successes are to be chalked up to his newfound maturity or an accurate prescription, Greinke is this year's Cy Young Award winner. His team or division should not cost him this praise when he was by far the most dominant pitcher in the American League this season.
The division argument wasn't brought up in 2004 or 2006 when Johan Santana won the Cy Young Award with Minnesota.
Or in 2007 when C.C. won his last Cy Young Award in Cleveland.
Or when Cliff Lee won it a year later in Cleveland.
In the eyes of the voters, the stench from the Royals just may be enough to tarnish the phenomenal season this incredible young pitcher is having.
For the AL Cy Young Award winner to come out of the AL Central for four straight seasons—and five out of six—seems crazy, but so are Greinke's numbers.
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