In a season of grand performances, Zack Greinke added one more to the portfolio with his outing last night. The line: 8 innings pitched, 5 hits allowed, 1 home run, 1 walk, and 15 strikeouts; with 11 swinging strikes coming on 117 pitches for a modest 9.4% whiffs.
It may not even be Grienke’s best performance of the season, as ridiculous as that sounds. if you use Bill James’ Game Score as a reasonable summarizing metric, then the start registers as a 78, good for the fifth best start on the year. Yes, fifth best. How many pitchers are capable of striking out 15 and walking one, and then having that be their fifth best start of their career, don’t even think about seasonal ranks.
I don’t want to say Greinke’s flown under the radar for the past month, but, our last post on him was in early July and not much since. He still possesses a 2.45 FIP, a 2.93 tRA, and only a 11-8 record. Entering last night the Royals were averaging 3.66 runs of support per Greinke start and had lost eight of the last nine games started by Greinke, including defeats by the scores of 4-2, 1-0, 2-0, 4-2, and 3-1.
Run support is like oxygen for starting pitchers; you don’t realize you need some until you have none. In this case, Greinke was gasping while taking hacks that would make Miguel Olivo blush in order to get a few runs on the board. The Royals obliged last night and planted him four by the fourth.
Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Roy Halladay, and Felix Hernandez are having fine seasons, but Greinke is still the class of the American League when separated from his putrid supporting cast. Enjoy his last few starts folks, this is one special season.
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