Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Zack Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award

Zack Greinke made his sixth start of the season on May 4 at home against Chicago. He was 5-0 with a 0.50 ERA going into the game. Something special was going and Royals fans sensed it.
With the Royals leading 3-0 going into the eighth inning, the White Sox got two hits to start the inning, but Greinke got Scott Podsedik to ground into a double play. The 21,000+ in attendance began to buzz. Wilson Betemit came up to the plate and the crowd stood and cheered for Greinke to get the final out of the inning. Betemit swung and missed the first pitch, and the second, and the third.
Frank White and Ryan Lefebvre were masterfully silent in the television booth. The camera focused on Greinke and the moment he was having with the roaring crowd as he walked back to the dugout. No words were necessary. Greinke was in a zone we don’t get to see very often—especially in Kansas City. He was in complete control of the game and everybody knew it.
Greinke went on to shutout the White Sox on six hits, striking out 10. After the game, Ozzie Guillen said Greinke was “the best in the league right now.”
How could he have said otherwise?
Those of us who follow this team had a sense then that this could be one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a pitcher in a Royals’ uniform. In fact, if you go back two starts for Greinke to April 24, Royals fans could already be heard chanting “Cy Young” after the game.
The Royals tanked after Greinke’s sixth start. They were 15-11 at the time and things were never quite the same after that—except for every fifth day when Greinke took the mound. We always had that. It became known as “Zack Greinke Day” every time he pitched and Greinke did something few can do—he made people who didn’t care about the Royals, or baseball, tune in.
There was a time though, late in the season, when it appeared as if the lack of run support for Greinke was going to keep him from winning the Cy Young Award. We all knew it shouldn’t be the case, but for some reason wins seem to matter to baseball writers; so does playing for a good team. We began to wonder if the Cy Young was going to slip through Greinke’s hands, but he finished strong and our hopes were high.
You’ve heard all the numbers Greinke put up in 2009. He was 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He struck out 242 hitters. And he was far and away the best pitcher in baseball. This afternoon, we learned that the baseball writers saw what we saw all season. At least 25 out of 28 of them did. And that’s why Zack Greinke is the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner.

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