I’m reasonably certain that when I wake up tomorrow, I will discover that it’s actually April 7th, that the season has yet to begin, and that I just had this really vivid dream about Zack Greinke that I’ll be embarrassed to mention to anyone. Something about six straight wins to start the season, two shutouts, a franchise-record scoreless streak, an SI cover, a first-place team. I know: I have got to lay off the Mountain Dew right before bed.
But until that happens, I’m savoring the moment.
- Coco Crisp has been an igniter on offense and brilliant with the glove, but do you all realize that if Crisp had, say, Carlos Beltran’s arm, Greinke’s scoreless streak might be at 59 and counting? As brilliant reader Curtis pointed out, Crisp has figured into all three runs Greinke has given up in his last 59 innings:
1) The unearned run against
2)The first run against
3) Scutaro scored again in the third, after drawing a walk and then going first-to-third on a single to center. Scutaro would have held at second against a centerfielder with a strong arm – and would not have scored on Alexis Rios’ GIDP.
Put a strong arm – not a howitzer, just someone who can throw the ball 200 feet on the fly – in center field, and Greinke is one inning away from breaking one of the most hallowed records in baseball. Saturday’s start in
- Greinke threw a six-hit shutout tonight, and what’s ridiculous is that with a smidge of luck and a smidge better defense, he could have had a perfect game. Look at the six hits:
Hit #1: A groundball by Scott Podsednik that bounced off Alberto Callaspo’s glove into right field.
Hit #2: A.J. Pierzynski breaks his bat and fists a floater in no-man’s land in short center field, right between three fielders.
Hit #3: Scott Podsednik hits a fast grounder that appears to hit the lip of the infield grass, taking a funny hop that eats Billy Butler up, and Podsednik races to second with a double.
Hit #4: Pierzynski hits a line drive that bounces off of Mark Teahen’s glove for a single.
Hit #5: Alexei Ramirez golfs a pitch into short center field for a bloop single.
Hit #6: Jayson Nix hits a looping drive that lands a few inches inside the foul line (it might have grazed the chalk) for a double.
For the game, opposing hitters were 6-for-21, or .286, on balls in play against Greinke. For the season, his BABIP is also .286. The BABIP for the Royals as a team is virtually indistinguishable at .289. In other words, Greinke hasn’t been lucky this season. He comes by that 0.40 ERA honestly. Honestly.
Alright, so here’s a woefully incomplete list of all the records that Greinke is taking aim at:
- He’s the third Royal, after Bret Saberhagen in 1987 and Jose Lima in 2003, to win his first six decisions of the season. (
- Only Saberhagen had won his first six starts of the season. Saberhagen lost his seventh.
- Zack Greinke has thrown two complete-game shutouts. The rest of the American League has combined for…hold on, let me do the math…zero.
- Greinke has reached double digits in strikeouts three times this year. In franchise history, only three pitchers have ever whiffed 10 or more batters more than three times in a season: Kevin Appier (four times in 1995, five times in 1996), Bob Johnson (five times in 1970), and Dennis Leonard (six times in 1977).
- Greinke now has six double-digit strikeout games in his career, at age 25. Only five Royals have more: Leonard with seven; Tom Gordon, Mark Gubicza, and Bret Saberhagen with eight; and Appier, with 21. Greinke has a good shot at being second on this list by the end of the year. If not the end of the month.
- Greinke now has two starts this season with 10 strikeouts and no walks. No Royal in history has had two…in their career. Tom Gordon comes closest; he did so once on July 17th, 1989 – and also struck out ten without a walk on April 12th that year, only in a relief appearance that spanned 6.2 innings.
- Greinke has four starts in his career with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Every other pitcher to suit up for the Royals in their history has combined for four such starts: one by Gordon, one by Gubicza, one by Johnson, and one by Rich Gale.
Unfortunately, the otherwise-excellent Play Index at baseball-reference.com does not allow me to run queries like “lowest ERA for a pitcher six starts into a season” and “most opposing hitters brought to tears after an at-bat”. So this will have to do for now; if I find the time to raid the Baseball Prospectus database for more goodies, I’ll let you know.