Barry M. Bloom

Greinke making case for NL Cy Young Award

Greinke making case for NL Cy Young Award

PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke is not usually one to let reporters too far into his inner thoughts. Thus, it was a tad surprising after handily beating the Dodgers, 8-1, on Thursday at Chase Field that Greinke said he's already pondered his chances of winning the National League Cy Young Award.

"I guess I have thought about it a little bit," Greinke said after holding his former teammates to one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings. "But those other two guys have been so good. Those other two guys have been the best."

The other two guys Greinke is talking about are Washington's Max Scherzer and Greinke's old friend Clayton Kershaw, who's slated to return for the Dodgers on Friday night against the Padres in San Diego after spending more than a month on the disabled list with a back strain.

Greinke took over the Major League lead with his 16th victory on Thursday as the D-backs swept the Dodgers in a three-game series to run their current streak to seven wins in a row. He's definitely a top contender for the NL Cy Young Award and should have five or six more starts in the team's final 28 games to make his case.

Greinke's strong home start

Two members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in each NL city vote for the Cy Young Award.

"It is a little bit early to be talking about it," Greinke said. "I'm just hoping to keep pitching good, make the playoffs and hopefully do good in the playoffs."

Scherzer, last year's NL Cy Young Award winner, has 13 wins and leads the NL with 230 strikeouts. Kershaw was 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 21 starts when he went on the DL on July 24. If he returns to have a decent final month, it will be hard once again to ignore the tall left-hander, who has already won the NL Cy Young Award three times in his first nine seasons.

Greinke ran his record this year at Chase Field to 13-1 with a 2.31 ERA, 122 strikeouts and only 21 walks in his 16 starts. Overall, he's 16-6 with a 3.08 ERA, 188 strikeouts and 39 walks in 27 starts.

Greinke K's Puig to end frame

"To me, a Cy Young is somebody who is dependable, is durable, and Zack has been there every fifth day for us, going out and executing as good as we hoped," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think he deserves some strong consideration. Some very, very strong consideration."

One can certainly add left-handers Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals and Alex Wood of the Dodgers to the mix. Like Kershaw, Scherzer and Wood have missed time on the disabled list with various injuries.

This season, Greinke has been the most durable. Last year, the righty's first in Arizona after signing a six-year $206.5 million contract as a free agent, he missed a month with a torn left oblique he suffered while swinging the bat and finished a disappointing 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA, and a 5-5 record at home.

"Zack's really bounced back from last year, obviously, which everybody expected he would," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "His durability is something that's been very good throughout his career, except for last year. But he's an elite pitcher. He seems to always be in that Cy Young conversation.

"There's a lot that goes into it. But when you're talking about Scherzer, Kershaw, Greinke and even bring Alex into the conversation, that's pretty good company."

Greinke won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009 with Kansas City when he posted a 16-8 record and a 2.16 ERA, which certainly wasn't the best season of his career. That was two years ago in Los Angeles, when he was 19-3 with a microscopic Major League-leading 1.66 ERA. Jake Arrieta of the Cubs, though, won the award in the NL that season.

If Greinke should win it again, he'll join Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay and Scherzer as the only pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

Talk about good company. The first three are already in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Aside for some struggles last year, Greinke has always pitched well at Chase Field, where he is 24-8 with a 3.37 ERA in his 14-year big league career. He was 6-0 in Arizona during his three-year run with the Dodgers, allowing only three earned runs in his six starts.

Greinke said he has no reason for his return to form and domination of opponents this season at home. Last year appears to be the anomaly.

"Yeah, I've said this a million times," Greinke said. "Last year, I thought I pitched good the first half, but at the end of the year, I pitched pretty bad. I was a little unlucky the first half, but after I came back from the injury, I never got it going. I don't think that was the reason for it. I just never pitched good the second half."

This year, Greinke has had it going all season, particularly at home. If he keeps it going, the NL Cy Young Award vote could turn toward him.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.