Greinke Leaps into Top-Ten of AL Cy Young Odds

Zack Greinke sitting by the bleachers

Zack Greinke has become the de facto ace of the Houston rotation with Justin Verlander sidelined. Photo by @astros (Twitter).
  • Veteran Zack Greinke has emerged as the ace of the Houston Astros’ pitching staff with Justin Verlander injured
  • Greinke’s odds to win the American League Cy Young Award have improved significantly in the last week
  • The Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber stands as the current Cy Young favorite with his 5-0 record and 1.11 ERA

The Houston Astros have needed Zack Greinke to become the ace of the pitching staff in the wake of Justin Verlander hurting his forearm on opening night and being on the injured list since then.

Greinke has stepped into that role and is thriving, as evidenced by his improving AL Cy Young odds.

He was at +5000 on Aug. 18. A week later, he has improved to +2000.

2020 American League Cy Young Odds

Player Odds at BetMGM
Shane Bieber (Indians) +150
Gerrit Cole (Yankees) +200
Lance Lynn (Rangers) +400
Dylan Bundy (Angels) +1600
Blake Snell (Rays) +1800
Zack Greinke (Astros) +2000
Frankie Montas (Athletics) +2000
Carlos Carrasco (Indians) +2500
Lucas Giolito (White Sox) +2500
Tyler Glasnow (Rays) +3000
Mike Clevinger (Indians) +3500
Jesus Luzardo (Athletics) +3500
Lance McCullers Jr. (Astros) +4000
James Paxton (Yankees) +4000
Charlie Morton (Rays) +5000
Jose Berrios (Twins) +5000
Hyun-Jin Ryu (Blue Jays) +5000
Liam Hendriks (Athletics) +5000
Justin Verlander (Astros) +8000
Corey Kluber (Rangers) +8000
Mike Minor (Rangers) +8000
Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox) +8000
Dallas Keuchel (White Sox) +8000
Sean Manaea (Athletics) +8000
Jake Odorizzi (Twins) +8000
Matthew Boyd (Tigers) +8500
Kyle Gibson (Rangers) +10000
Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees) +10000
Reynaldo Lopez (White Sox) +10000
Aroldis Chapman (Yankees) +15000
Jose Urquidy (Astros) +15000

Odds as of Aug. 25.

Quality Start Streak

Greinke’s record is just 1-0 through six starts but he has a 2.29 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Just like his odds, Greinke has gotten better as the season has gone on.

He lasted just 3.1 innings in his first start on July 26 against the Seattle Mariners, giving up three runs. He was better his second time out, allowing two runs in 5.1 innings at the Los Angeles Angels.

Now, Greinke has put together four consecutive quality starts, allowing just four earned runs in 26.1 innings during that span for a 1.37 ERA.

He sandwiched scoreless outings of six innings at the Oakland Athletics and eight innings against the Colorado Rockies around a one-run effort in 6.1 innings against the San Francisco Giants.

Greinke was not quite so sharp in his latest outing Sunday at the San Diego Padres as he was charged with three runs in six innings in a no-decision. Nevertheless, it was a quality start.

2020 World Series Odds Tracker

ERA is Elite

While his win total is low, Greinke is fifth in the AL in ERA. He trails the Indians’ Shane Bieber (1.11), the Rangers’ Lance Lynn (1.59), and a pair of Twins: Randy Dobnak (1.78) and Kenta Maeda (2.21).

Greinke is 36 years old, in his 17th season, and has pitched over 2,900 innings in his career. Yet durability has not been a concern as he stands eighth in the AL with 35.1 innings pitched, an average of nearly six innings per start in this pandemic-delayed season that has proven to be tough physically on many pitchers.

Furthermore, Greinke’s peripheral statistics are outstanding while also keeping his reputation as a bit of an eccentric intact.

His FIP is two-tenths of a run lower than his ERA at 2.09. He also has a fine 4.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 29 punchouts and six bases on balls. And he has yet to allow a home run.

Greinke has also kept the Astros competitive in the American League West. They are second place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics. The top two finishers gain automatic entry into Major League Baseball’s expanded 16-team postseason field.

Oddsmakers Believe in Bieber

Bieber is understandably the favorite, though just slightly over the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole. Bieber is currently on pace to win the AL pitching triple crown as he leads the league in wins (5-0), ERA (1.11), and strikeouts (65 in 40.2 innings).

Cole has not been quite as dominant as Bieber, but he has been good in the first season of a nine-year, $324-million contract, the largest ever given to a pitcher. Through six starts, Cole is 4-0 with a 2.75 ERA.

Lynn bolstered his case Monday night when he beat the Athletics to snap the Rangers’ seven-game losing streak, allowing two runs in six innings. He raised his record to 4-0 and his ERA is among the best in the league.

Even with his odds getting shorter, Greinke looks like the best value on the board at +2000. It would be wise to jump on him now before the value diminishes further.

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