To the surprise of few, Kansas City Royal Zach Greinke won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award by a significant margin over runner-up Felix Hernandez of the Mariners.
"Hey, Greinke, you weren't the only ace whose team couldn't hit a lick."
There's no doubting Greinke laid a strong claim to the award, leading the league in earned run average and finishing second in strikeouts--both categories in which Hernandez was hot on his heels. But while winning isn't everything, it should count for something, and Hernandez easily bested Greinke in victories (19 to 16) and winning percentage.Common logic has it that Greinke's historically low win total should be discounted because he played for an offensively anemic team. That's true: he did. The Royals finished second-to-last in the AL in both runs scored and team batting average. But there was one team that was worse in both of those categories as well as several others: The Seattle Mariners.
Greinke had a masterful year, posting arguably the most dominant month by a pitcher in baseball history, going 5-0 in April with a 0.50 ERA. But after an 8-1 start through the end of May, Greinke's record (if not his other numbers) was a pedestrian 8-7, whereas Hernandez only got stronger as the year grew longer--closing with a seven-game winning streak while backed by a shittier offensive team (that, miraculously, finished with a record far superior to the Royals').
If you want to make the case for Greinke, there's a strong one to be made. But cut it out with the "crappy run support" argument, because Felix had it just as tough.