Underappreciated Play: Greinke Picks Off Roberts

There was a certain level of anxiety around Milwaukee as the season wound down and Zack Greinke‘s first playoff start approached. I kept reminding my friends that Roy Halladay‘s first playoff start was a no-hitter. But, of course, I was a bit worried myself, and it turned out that worry was warranted: Zack Greinke gave up four runs on three homers over his five inning start. It was good enough to keep the Brewers tied or in the lead throughout, however, and he lasted long enough to allow the Brewers to blow the game open in the sixth.

Plenty has been made of this big sixth inning, but I would like to highlight one play which has gone under the radar. Specifically, I am referring to Zack Greinke’s pickoff of Ryan Roberts in the top of the fourth inning.

The play can be viewed here.

After giving up his second home run of the game, a shot off the bat of Chris Young, Greinke allowed a single in the shortstop-third base hole which Yuniesky Betancourt valiantly attempted to make a play on. He had no chance to complete the play despite reaching the ball and threw the ball well over Prince Fielder‘s outstretched glove and into the stands, giving the Diamondbacks a runner on second with one out and the tying run coming to the plate in the form of Gerardo Parra.

At this point, the Brewers lead was 4-2 but their win expectancy was down to 71.7% after beginning the inning at a robust 82.3%. Greinke then executed one of the best “slow” pickoff moves (one where the pitcher begins with the leg kick as opposed to picking off in the style a right-hander usually uses to first base) I have ever witnessed. The play resulted in a -.064 WPA, the highest magnitude for any out made in the game, just worse than Yuniesky Betancourt’s double play in the second inning.

Greinke would eventually give up the lead thanks to a majestic home run off the bat of Justin Upton, but the floodgates could have easily opened up in the fourth inning had Greinke not managed to catch an antsy Ryan Roberts cheating towards third base. It was the biggest play the Brewers defense made in their 9-4 victory en route to a 2-0 series lead.



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Mr. Verlander
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Mr. Verlander

I taught him that move.

I hope I don’t regret it in the WS.

Black_Rose
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Black_Rose

No you didn’t.

Mr. Verlander
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Mr. Verlander

Prove it.

Jeff
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Jeff

You’re not even a funny troll. Just stop it.

Mr. Verlander
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Mr. Verlander

I’m not a troll.

I really am Justin Verlander.

BTW, I do find it comical that you took the time out of your day to complain about a “troll”. Must be a busy guy.

You would think you would be grateful talking to such an immense talent.

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