Major League Baseball
Greinke a most deserving Cy Young winner
Major League Baseball

Greinke a most deserving Cy Young winner

Published Nov. 18, 2009 1:28 a.m. ET

Zack Greinke won the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, just like he was supposed to.

Even the guy who finished third in the voting thinks so.

"I do feel Greinke deserved the award," Justin Verlander said in an e-mail on Tuesday. "He had an outstanding year.

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"I know that his win (total) wasn't as good as some would like to see out of a Cy Young winner, but I believe that wins are not the most telling stat of how a pitcher performed."

How true. To fully appreciate what Greinke did this year, you had to watch him pitch. And the right-hander's performance in five starts against the Tigers — a 3-1 record and 1.00 ERA — was apparently sufficient for Verlander.

Verlander said Greinke's 2.16 ERA "speaks for itself," and he is absolutely right. It was the best in the majors — not just the AL.

And it was lower — substantially so — than the major-league-best mark that helped Johan Santana become a unanimous choice as the AL Cy Young winner in 2006.

Still, many Royals fans started Tuesday with a severe, stomach-cramping case of small-town-itis.

Of course, they believed Greinke should win. But optimism about baseball in Kansas City tends to be guarded, what with 14 losing seasons in 15 years.

"I'd been hearing it since the last month of the season," said Joel Goldberg, host of the pre- and postgame shows for Royals telecasts on FOX Sports Kansas City. "People were asking me about it a lot. It became more frequent in the last week, week-and-a-half: 'When's it happening? What do you think the chances are?'

"I guarantee you people woke up this morning on edge. People figured that he pitched for a losing team. You heard a lot about an East Coast bias. I don't think anybody woke up today thinking this thing was in the bag."

Well, it was.

Greinke won baseball's most coveted pitching trophy only three seasons after social anxiety disorder forced him to step away from the game. And the final tally wasn't even close.


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