Red Sox heap praise on Greinke

Red Sox heap praise on Greinke

KANSAS CITY -- Sitting by his locker, David Ortiz leaned back in his seat and gave his typical round smile.

The question was a simple one, and Ortiz had a simple answer.

Should Zack Greinke be the American League Cy Young Award winner?

Should Greinke -- the Royals' pitching savant who had just thoroughly dominated the Boston Red Sox during Kansas City's 5-1 win on Tuesday -- be voted the best pitcher in the AL?

"Why not?" Ortiz said.

Greinke had just allowed two hits over his six innings of work. He had lowered his Major League-leading ERA to 2.08. He had struck out five more batters, giving him 229 for the season. And now his Cy Young candidacy had the support of one of the biggest personalities in baseball.

"Why not?" Ortiz said, repeating himself. "He got good numbers for it. If I could vote for the Cy Young Award winner, [I] might give one vote to him."

Big Papi, of course, is just the latest opponent to walk into Kauffman Stadium and lavish praise on Greinke.

It generally seems to work like this:

The game begins. Greinke proceeds to be nearly unhittable. And the manager of the opposing team sits in his office afterward and shakes his head in amazement.

The skipper will generally mention Greinke's ability to change speeds on his fastball. He'll mention his buckling slider. He'll talk about his underrated changeup. He might sound astonished that Greinke threw a curveball at 67 mph. And then he'll finish up with some words about Greinke being a competitor.

On Tuesday night, it was Boston's Terry Francona who got to sit in the manager's chair.

"He has everything," Francona said.

The only thing that kept Greinke from adding to his gaudy numbers was a sore right arm, the result of a line drive from the bat of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera in his previous start.

Royals manager Trey Hillman -- in a precautionary move -- decided that six innings and 91 pitches were enough for Greinke on Tuesday.

The Red Sox were certainly happy to see him exit.

Greinke held the trio of Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay hitless, while second baseman Dustin Pedroia and first baseman Victor Martinez were the only Red Sox players to scratch out hits.

"He threw the ball where he wanted it," Ortiz said.

The victory against the Red Sox was the first of Greinke's career, and it also moved him to 15-8 on the season.

Perhaps it was appropriate that the victory came against former Kansas City pitcher Paul Byrd, who started for the Red Sox on Tuesday and was the last Royal to win at least 15 games.

Byrd, of course, knows how hard it is to amass wins in Kansas City. He knows about the lack of run support, and the difficulty of pitching in meaningless games during the dog days of summer.

"[The Royals' offense] is very good over there, but it's not the Yankees," Byrd said. "And he's done a great job of winning a lot of ballgames."

And what about those numbers? The numbers that Ortiz wanted to tout.

Well, how about this: Greinke has allowed just one earned run over his past 35 innings pitched (0.26 ERA), and he's posted a 1.23 ERA in 13 starts against teams with winning records.

Boston is one of those winning teams, and this was the first time the Red Sox saw Greinke in 2009.

So maybe they'd have better luck if they saw him again, right? Then again, maybe not.

"Even the teams that see him a lot don't seem to be doing much," Bay said. "He's just one of those special talents."

Rustin Dodd is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.