In a wild and high-scoring affair, the Los Angeles Dodgers came out victorious in the series-clinching, 10-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Zack Greinke led the way, both offensively and defensively after a rough first inning of work.
The game started off with the 31-year-old pitcher receiving three runs of support in the top of the first inning, but that was gone as the Phillies answered with five runs of their own.
At the plate, Greinke went 3-for-3, with two singles, a home run, and three runs scored. The feat would mark the first Dodgers’ pitcher to do so since Leo Dickerman in 1923. The right-hander admitted to focusing a bit more at the plate in order to help his cause.
Growing up in high school, the Florida native played shortstop throughout his high school tenure and Greinke used to ponder the idea of making it to the Major Leagues as a position player, according to Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
I don’t think about it any more. I used to think about it,” said Greinke who struggled early in his career with all the down time that comes with being a starting pitcher. “Maybe. But it’s not that easy, at the same time.”
Would the situation be different if he was a position player with an actual scouting report? Manager Don Mattingly tackled the notion and laid down a different perspective:
Are they going to pitch him differently, not pitch him as a pitcher?” Mattingly said. “Are they going to start attacking him in a different way?”
Mattingly’s suggestion does make sense, as pitchers would get used to facing an everyday hitter and scouting departments across Major League Baseball would have scenarios already drawn up on how to approach Greinke.
In 50 at-bats this season, the Cy Young winner is batting .220/.231/.300, which are particularly good numbers for a hitting pitcher. Greinke and Clayton Kershaw currently lead the National League in at-bats taken by a pitcher and the only pitcher to have a better batting average than Greinke in the top-30 is Madison Bumgarner.
Teammate Howie Kendrick chipped in by stating that he does have the makings of a potential Major League player, but also that everyone understands what he is truly best at:
When you get some guys that are all-around players like that, athletes, you never know,” Kendrick said. “He’s one of those guys, maybe he might have been able to do it. But when you come out of high school throwing 98, 99 (mph), it says something a little different.”
Entering the 2015 season, Greinke had a career batting average of .217. Also, his career OPS of .599 entering the 2015 campaign is the best amongst pitchers with at least 100 at-bats in their career.