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September 23, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Royals using Don Wakamatsu to promote Cy Young Award candidacy of Zack Greinke

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Here’s something you don’t see very often. No, not the glossy, poster-style lobby effort by the Kansas City Royals on behalf of Zack Greinke and his Cy Young Award bid. That stuff is done all the time. The Royals are sending the poster-type handout you see in the photo to all Baseball Writers Association of America members with a Cy Young vote.
The Mariners last week sent out a more understated email, listing Felix Hernandez’s accomplishments in his bid for a Cy Young.
What makes the Royals’ effort interesting is that they are using the words of Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu in support of Greinke’s candidacy.

After the Mariners were beaten here, 3-0, by Greinke and the Royals back on Aug. 30, Wakamatsu was asked about the pitcher’s performance and gave a quote.
“It was really a clinic today. He was almost unhittable to me. You look up on the board in the last inning, on his 113th pitch, it’s 96 mph. And with that he complements it with a 65-, 66 mphcurveball with command. It’s one of those days you tip your cap to that kid because he was awfully, awfully impressive.”
Wakamatsu is a classy guy and has no trouble saying nice things about opponents and answering media questions. Unfortunately for him and his ace pitcher, his quote is now front-and-center in the Royals PR campaign. The quote is now featured on the right hand side of the poster, in a column of supportive quotes for Greinke. Right up there with quotes from Brett Saberhagen, Ozzie Guillen, Eric Wedge and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The difference between Wakamatsu, Wedge and Guillen is that none of those other managers has a horse in this year’s Cy Young race.
Obviously, Wakamatsu wants Hernandez to win the Cy Young. He’s made enough comments in favor of Hernandez to make that a logical conclusion. But for now, BBWAA voters will see him used to support Greinke.
In case, the Mariners want to send out another email, here’s a quote from Royals manager Trey Hillman, taken from the Kansas City Star last month after Hernandez beat his team.
“Early on, we gave them runs with a couple of defensive letdowns. You can’t do that when you’re facing anybody but especially not when you’re facing a No. 1.”
Not as sizzling, but it’s a start.
By the way, Greinke tossed another six innings of shutout ball last night to pick up his 15th win and lower is ERA to 2.08. Greinke has allowed one — count it, one — earned run over his last five starts.
Greinke and Hernandez — 16-5 with a 2.45 ERA — have separated themselves from the field. Hernandez has three more starts, but even if he throws three consecutive complete-game shutouts, the lowest he can get his ERA is 2.18. It could still be a race to the wire if Greinke stumbles.
Unfortunately for Hernandez, at this stage, Greinke is looking like Secretariat to his Seattle Slew.



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