No starting pitcher has ever won a Cy Young award with less than 16 wins in a full season. That might have to change this year, since Zach Greinke has been easily the best pitcher in the AL and still only has a 13-8 record, largely due to the ineptitude of the Royal’s offense. I took a look at Greinke’s lack of run support over at MLB Notebook. An excerpt’s below; click through for the full version.
“Zack Greinke has a 2.19 ERA. That leads the American League – a fair bit ahead of Felix Hernandez’s 2.52, and well ahead of Roy Halladay’s 3.03. He’s second in the league in complete games with 6 (Halladay has 7), but is tops with 3 shutouts. His 216 K’s are second to Justin Verlander’s 239, and his strike-out to walk ratio of 5.14 is second to Halladay’s 6.30. Greinke’s FIP (2.33) is over a half run better than the next closest pitcher, and FanGraphs has him as far and away the most valuable pitcher in the league at 8.3 Wins Above Replacement (Verlander and Halladay come in next with 6.9 and 6.7, respectively). All that great stuff, and yet he’s only 13-8 for the lowly Royals.
Kansas City has the second worst offenses in the league (better than only Seattle) and they’re scoring just 4.15 runs per game this season. Perhaps having Greinke on the mound gives them confidence that it won’t take many runs to win, because they’ve managed to give Zack only about 3.5 runs of support a game. Since Greinke can’t be expected to blank the opposing time every time out – though it often seemed like that at the beginning of the season with his steak of 28.2 innings without giving up an earned run – his record is mediocre. Imagine what he could have done with as actual offense…
Perhaps this would be illustrative: CC Sabathia received more than 8 runs of support 8 times; Zack Greinke received more than 4 runs of support only 7 times.
Also of note; in his 8 no-decisions Greinke has a 1.95 ERA. In his 8 losses he has a 4.62 ERA. For comparison’s sake, the previously mentioned Joe Saunders has a 13-7 record with a 4.81 ERA overall.
Several pitchers are having great seasons this year, but Zack Greinke has been the best pitcher in the American League.”