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If Greinke doesn’t win the Cy Young, I’m going to…

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So I woke up this morning to find my neighbor distraught. Sometime during the night, someone bashed in the small, blind spot window on the passenger side of his 14-year-old Cutlass Supreme.

But I have more bad news for him.

If the Royal’s Zack Greinke doesn’t win the American League Cy Young award, I’m going to be pacing the neighborhood taking vengeance upon small animals, i.e. squirrels and quail, and irreplaceable car windows.

I’ve already called Neighborhood Watch.

I don’t expect there to be as much competition in the American League Cy Young race as many of the popular media outlets prophesy. It’s going to come down to two guys: the Royal’s Greinke and Seattle Mariner’s ace Felix Hernandez. If anyone else wins, it’s official: I’m switching to football.

First, I think its important to put their numbers side-by-side. Here are their statistics, per order of ESPN’s Cy Young Predictor module:

At just 23-years-old, King Felix finally had the breakout that had tantalized many analysts since the beginning of his career. In 2009, Hernandez posted career highs in wins, innings pitched, games started, strikeouts, and earned run average. He kept lefties to a .228 average and righties to a .226 average using his dazzling fastball, 2-seamer, hard curve, slider, and change.

The campaign was good enough to earn him his first All-Star nod. His incredibly consistent season also placed him atop the leaderboards for Win-Loss Percentage, Wins, and Hits Per Nine Innings with marks of .792, 19, and 7.542, respectively.

Not too shabby, by any measure.

But Greinke’s 2009 was even better.

Sure, he started one less game and pitched nine less innings. Sure, his win-loss record of 16-8 pales in comparison to Hernandez’s 19-5.

But wins are slowly becoming an antiquated stat, one that will almost surely lose its significance one of these days (my guess being December 21, 2012). Simply put, pitchers don’t have much control over whether they win or lose. They can stack the deck in their favor by pitching well, but the statistic is almost completely reliant on potent offenses and capable late relief.

And Greinke played for the friggin’ Kansas City Royals; the fragile, anemic team with the 12th worst batting average among the 14 American League clubs, the team that slugged just 144 homeruns over the course of a 162-game season, good for 13th best in the same field.

But that’s not even the worst part. That dubious distinction would belong to the tremendously awful bullpen. In 2009, the Royal’s bullpen went 16-26 with an earned run average over 5.00. They let 45 percent of inherited runners score, 11 percent worse than the league average. Just one regular reliever, stud closer Joakim Soria, posted an ERA below 4.00.

In two starts where Greinke left the game without allowing a run, he got no-decisions. In two more starts in which he allowed just one run, he got a loss.

The team ended the season 32 games below .500.

Assumptions like this are almost always faulty and unfair, but it’s fair to proclaim that Greinke should have a markedly better record.

And let’s not forget that Greinke allowed 11 fewer runs than Hernandez in just one less start. And that he struck out 25 more batters in nine less innings.

Greinke’s season was part of history. Hernandez’s wasn’t.

Chances are that many of us have forgotten about this now, but his 6-0 record and 0.40 ERA through the season’s first six starts put him in the elite company of just two men: Walter “Big Train” Johnson and Fernando Valenzuela. Extend that through his first 10 starts and Greinke’s 0.84 ERA is a measure of dominance unseen since Juan Marichal’s historic run in 1966.

A Cy Young Award would be another notch in Greinke’s headboard.

And if he doesn’t win, well, watch out neighborhood: there’ll be hell to pay.

UPDATE: Everyone is safe.

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