Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zack Greinke is The Chosen One..

Today was one of the more interesting days in baseball this season.

The Yankees lost 22-4, the Marlins are now 10-1 after their 2nd straight 9th inning comeback in as many days, and Zack Greinke set a new Royals record.

The record I'm speaking of, of course, is for the most consecutive innings spanning one or more seasons without allowing a run.  The previous mark, 33, was held by Kevin Appier and set all the way back in 1993.  Greinke one-up'd the Ape, as the record now stands at 34.

I didn't get a chance to watch the game until well after it ended, but I must say, it was easily the most dominating pitching performance by a Royal that I can remember seeing.  Greinke had everything working tonight, and what's most encouraging to me is how he performed with men on the bases.  Zack has always been a player who strives for perfection, and at times in the past it seemed like he would be a little frustrated with himself after making a mistake.  It was obvious tonight, however, that he really buckled down and made his pitches with men on base.

Greinke's line looked like this:  9 ip, 7 h, 0 r, 0 er, 10k, 0 bb.  

His combined line for the season is this:  3-0, 20 ip, 16 h, 0 r, 0 er, 26 k, 5 bb.

Remember Cliff Lee's ridiculous start last spring?  In his first three starts, he had this line:

3-0, 22.2 ip, 8 h, 2 r, 1 er, 20 k, 2 bb

Cliff Lee had a ridiculous start last year, and Zack Greinke is right there with him this year.  

In his 4th start last year, Lee faced the Royals and threw a 9 inning shutout, allowing 3 hits and striking out 9 while walking 0.  Greinke is set to face the Indians next Thursday in his next start, so it will be very intriguing to see what happens.

Today's game had a bunch of pluses, in my opinion.  Hillman let Greinke stay in even over 100 pitches after he allowed a 2 out single in the 9th.  Hillman put in Mitch Maier in the 7th.  Hillman didn't have any player bunt.  These are all good things.  I did think it was kind of dumb to put Maier in for Bloomquist and leave Callaspo at 2nd.  If he was going to make some defensive moves I think it would be best to put Maier in RF, Bloomquist at 2b and Pena at SS.  Although both Aviles and Callaspo batted again, so I understand the thought process of leaving them in until the bottom of the 9th inning, when neither of them (hopefully) would get the chance to bat again.

Maybe there is a big disadvantage to bringing in a player who has sat the bench the whole game to play one half inning of defense, but if Pena Jr. isn't on the roster to play SS in the bottom of the 9th inning of a two run game when your best pitcher is going for his first career shutout and the Royals record for consecutive innings without a run, then what the hell is he on the roster for?

Hitter of the Game

The Royals didn't have a great offensive night, but Billy Butler doubled in the winning run in the 6th inning.  Oh, and it was his 23rd birthday, so he'll get some special consideration for that, as well.  Billy has been off to a slow start this season, but he has looked better now that he has been playing 1B pretty consistently.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I imagine we'll soon find out.  

Pitcher of the Game

It's pretty easy to decide a pitcher of the game when there is only one pitcher in the game.  The Chosen One will earn his 3rd award in as many appearances this season, and he also gets me to hop on his MVP and Cy Young award bandwagon.


Kyle Davies will face off against Vicente Padilla in a 2:05 central time start tomorrow.  Kyle looks to bounce back from a "shaky" start that saw him give up 3 runs in 5.2 innings to the Tribe.

Thanks for reading, look for my minor league updates to start soon..

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