Zack Greinke Breaks Collarbone During Brawl

April 14, 2013

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The playoff hopes of the Dodgers were dealt a serious blow Thursday night when Zack Greinke broke his collarbone – and injury that will keep him out two months.  With the Dodgers winning 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning and the count at 3-2, Greinke hit Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin with a pitch.  Quentin charged the mound, and Greinke braced himself for the collision by leading with his left shoulder – resulting in the broken collarbone.

Did Greinke hit Quentin on purpose?  Most likely not.  Quentin gets hit by pitches a lot, because he crowds the plate.  It’s part of his game – it gives him better coverage of the outside of the plate, and he gets on base when he gets hit by a pitch (which happens at the rate of one every 25 times he comes to bat – an incredibly high rate).  Sure, Greinke had hit him two other times in his career, but he’s not the only pitcher who has plunked Quentin three times.

Then there’s the game situation.  It’s a one run lead late in the game.  You’re trying to protect the lead, not give the opposing team free baserunners.  And even if you are going to hit a batter, you wouldn’t take the count to 3-2.  You’d hit him with the first pitch and save the wear and tear on your arm.

None of my analysis is different than anything else you’re seeing on the internet, of course.

Rockies on a roll

While most pundits have predicted gloom and doom for the Rockies (with ESPN’s Keith Law predicting 53 wins), the Rockies have blasted 20 homers in the first eleven games of the season (15 homers in eight road games) en route to a 7-4 record.  Center fielder Dexter Fowler is leading the team with six homers.  Another player to watch is catcher Wilin Rosario, who blasted 28 homers in his rookie season last year, but was completely overlooked amidst all the Trout/Harper media hype.  Rosario’s power is real – the big question is whether he can improve enough defensively to stick behind the plate.

Astros improving?

Kevin Goldstein @ Saber Seminar 2011

The brains behind an Astros rebuild?

After getting off to a horrible whiff-laden start, some of the Astros hitters actually seem to be improving, to the point where a couple of them actually look good.  Is it possible that the Astros won’t be as bad as we originally though?

Nah, they,ll still be horrible – the larger sample size of a full season will bear that out.

However, help is on the way.  Kevin Goldstein, formerly of Baseball Prospectus, is now the director of professional scouting – so expect some astute trades.  Just look for the fedora.

Kobe tears ACL

Lakers star Kobe Bryan became the second LA star to suffer a significant injury in as many days when he tore his ACL Friday night.  He’ll be out 6-9 months, which means he might be ready for the NBA Finals (sorry, but the NBA playoffs ARE really long).  The Lakers currently hold a one game lead for the final playoff spot with two games left in the season.  Regardless of whether they make the playoffs this years, they have almost no chance of making the playoffs in 2014 without Bryant.

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Can Zack Greinke Win the Cy Young?

September 19, 2009

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Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals is having a great season.  After teasing us with his potential the last few years, he has turned the corner and blossomed into a bona fide, unquestioned ace.  He leads baseball with a 2.14 ERA.  Batters are hitting just .231 against him, with an anemic OPS of .612.  He is second in the American league with 224 strikeouts (in 210 1/3 innings).  He has walked just 44 batters – resulting in a spectacular strikeout : walk ratio of 5:1.  He has also done a nice job of keeping the ball in the park, allowing just 11 home runs this year.

Every pitcher has some bumps in the road during the course of the season.  It is very difficult to spot Greinke’s speed bumps this year.  There are really only  two games that would qualify as “bad” – an August 3rd matchup with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in which Greinke gave up ten hits and three walks in five innings and a June 5th game against the Blue Jays in which he gave up seven runs (five earned) and nine hits.  There are only two other games in which he gave up more than three earned runs (including a game in which he allowed three homers, but just four runs).  In Greinke’s other 26 starts, he has allowed three or fewer runs.  Greinke also goes deep into games.  He has pitched at least six innings in 26 of his starts, including nine games in which he has pitched eight or more innings.

In short, when Greinke goes to the mound, the Royals can be very confident that he’s going to go six or more innings and allow three or fewer runs.  This means that Greinke puts them in a strong position to win every time he pitches.

What, then, is the problem?

The problem is the fact that the Royals are not winning.  They have the worst record in the American League, with just 59 wins and 87 losses.  The lack of run support has dragged Greinke’s numbers down.  He has just 14 wins and 8 losses, while also racking up no-decisions in many games during which he has pitched great.  After roaring out to a 10-3 start by June 28, he didn’t pick up his 11th win until August 8th.  During his six start winless stretch, he posted a 3.65 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched – great numbers that should have resulted in a much better record than 0-4.  On a team such as the Yankees, Greinke would likely already have 20 wins in the bank, and would be clearing a spot on his mantle for the inevitable Cy Young award.

Greinke’s win total leaves him three behind AL leader CC Sabathia of the Yankees, although Sabathia has an ERA more than a run higher than Greinke’s.  If Sabathia reaches 20 wins, will the Cy Young voters (sports writers) hand him the Cy Young?  Or will they look behind the traditionally “sexy” statistic of wins and vote for the person who has been the most outstanding pitcher in the American League this year – Zack Greinke?