Now that the regular season is in its final month, jockeying for postseason positioning isn’t the only attention-grabber in Major League Baseball. Personal accolades such as the Cy Young awards, MVPs and Rookies of the Year need to be doled out, which makes for interesting debate in some cases.
Chief among those is the race for the 2015 NL Cy Young award. Zack Greinke has undeniably been the most dominant pitcher from the beginning of the season to now. However, he’s had recent company as Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is in the midst of an impressive stretch and so too is Greinke’s teammate, Clayton Kershaw.
While the trio of pitchers expected to keep the race interesting down the stretch, Greinke said Sunday he hasn’t given much attention to it, via Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
I’ve seen a bunch of articles being written about it. But I never click on it because it feels like it’s too early to be talking about it, for one. It seems like it started two or three weeks ago,” Greinke said. “I don’t know. It’s just not interesting to me.”
As for whether the competition with Arrieta and Kershaw provides additional motivation, Greinke downplayed that as well:
I don’t know,” Greinke stated. “Probably less than most people.”
After the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks split the first two games of their series, Greinke bounced back from a subpar outing — for his standards — to throw eight shutout innings. He said after the win the scoreless effort was one he thought Kershaw would always have the upper hand in accomplishing.
On the season Greinke is now 17-3 with an MLB-best 1.61 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. His 2.69 FIP ranks fifth overall and trails Kershaw’s 2.08 FIP, which leads the Majors, and Arrieta’s 2.52 that is second.
However, Greinke’s 232 ERA+ is best in all of baseball, with Arrieta in second with a 198 ERA+ and Kershaw’s 174 adjust ERA good for fifth-best. Greinke’s ERA+ currently ranks 11th in all-time MLB history and he’s on pace to have the third-lowest single-season ERA since Dwight Gooden in 1985 (1.52) and Greg Maddux in 1994 (1.55).
With a 2009 American League Cy Young award to his name, Greinke would become the sixth pitcher in MLB history to win the award in both leagues.