Can we all agree that Zack Greinke is pitching like an ace now?
I thought he was back in late May and early July, when Tom Haudricourt wrote that Greinke was failing to meet expectations. At that time, Greinke’s proclivity for giving up the long ball seemed his only real blemish; his peripheral stats were all at least respectable, if not amazing in the case of his K:BB ratio. His high ERA gave a few people fits but, as I explained then, that was a combination of bad luck and poor defense that would likely correct itself as the season wore on.
Last night, Greinke absolutely dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven innings before finally giving up two runs in the eighth. Greinke scattered only six hits, stuck out nine, and walked one batter.
The start builds on what has been an excellent past 30 days for the former Cy Young winner. Since his start on July 16, Greinke is 5-1 in six starts with a 1.56 ERA. He’s throwing over 60% of his pitches for strikes over that span and has 44 strikeouts, an average of about seven per start. Hitters are batting only .210 against him. What more can you ask for?
Greinke’s recent success has lowered his ERA from 5.23 in mid-June to 4.08, though his expected ERA, which attempts to account for variables out of the pitcher’s control, is much lower. He’s gone at least six innings in his last eight starts, which helps the bullpen stay fresh. And Greinke’s WHIP has dropped to 1.16. He’s still striking out a career-high 11.22 batters per nine innings.
This is not the train wreck that many people saw at the beginning of the season. This guy is going to take the Brewers to the playoffs, and beyond.