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Zack Greinke, Clayton Keshaw could join rare Cy Young Award company

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are no strangers when it comes to being Cy Young candidates. Both would tell you at this point they are more concerned with the team’s success the rest of the way. However, that shouldn’t be a deterrent to appreciating just how good the two have been while having a chance at a little history.

In 59 previous years of the Cy Young award, only four have ended with teammates as the top two vote-getters for either league. Most recently Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (2001, 2002) accomplished the feat in consecutive years.

The only other times that pitchers on the same team had the top two spots belonged to the Dodgers organization. Don Newcombe won the first Cy Young award over teammate Sal Maglie in 1956, and Dodger reliever Mike Marshall beat starter Andy Messersmith in 1974.

The power duo of Kershaw and Greinke have drawn comparisons to Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, who helped lift the Dodgers to several World Series. But Koufax and Drysdale never finished first and second in the Cy Young voting, though through 1969 each ballot consisted of only one vote, before switching to a first-second-third ballot in 1970.

Atlanta's Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine never did it either even though they did finish in the top three together in three different years.

Since June 6, the tandem have posted a combined 1.32 ERA in 30 starts with 250 strikeouts and only 32 walks. Greinke (1.61) and Kershaw (2.24) have a chance to be the first pair of teammates to finish a season with both starters at a 2.25 ERA or below since 1968.

Greinke pulled out to an early lead in the race and hasn't looked back while Kershaw has looked just as dominant as ever after a slow start to his season. Cubs' starter Jake Arrieta is also making a push, his two-month dominance culminating in a no-hitter against the Dodgers Sunday to lower his ERA to 2.11.

The amazing part is that Kershaw had a 4.32 ERA after his ninth start back in May. The Dodger left-hander was being pushed aside as having an off year. Since May 26, Kershaw has turned in a 1.28 ERA over 17 starts and has struck out nearly 35 percent of batters faced.

It looks like the award has been Greinke's to lose all year with his sparkling ERA but Kershaw and Arrieta have made it interesting. It's still possible that Kershaw -- who has better numbers than Greinke outside of ERA and W-L record -- comes back to win his fourth Cy Young in five years after being left for dead early on.

Here is how the competition stacks up:

Greinke Kershaw Arrieta Scherzer deGrom Cole Bumgarner
fWAR 5.1 6.6 5.4 5.0 4.1 4.3 4.4
rWAR 7.7 5.8 6.1 4.9 4.5 3.9 3.5
FIP 2.62 2.10 2.49 2.76 2.89 2.69 2.76
ERA 1.61 2.24 2.11 2.88 2.32 2.44 2.97
ERA+ 232 167 182 135 159 156 124
W-L 14-3 11-6 17-6 11-11 12-7 15-7 16-6
K 164 236 190 209 171 166 192
IP 179⅓ 185 183 178 163 169⅔ 175⅔
K/BB 5.29 7.15 4.32 8.04 5.03 4.37 6.40
K/9 8.2 11.5 9.3 10.6 9.4 8.8 9.8
WHIP 0.848 0.903 0.940 0.927 0.945 1.108 1.025