If at times you’ve watched Zack Greinke this season and thought he was navigating a start as one would in a video game, you’re not alone. As one-half of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ two-headed monster at the top of the starting rotation, Greinke has often stolen the spotlight from reigning National League MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.
One night removed from Kershaw adding an exlcamation point to his case for the All-Star Game by throwing a complete-game shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies, Greinke followed with a nearly-identical effort. The right-hander held the Phillies to one hit over eight shutout innings, extending his scoreless streak to 35.2 innings.
“The things he’s been doing so far have been great,” Yasmani Grandal said after catching another of Greinke’s gems. “He’s almost been perfect. Just the way he’s been throwing, he’s been pinpointing. You can’t really ask for more. For me, it’s like playing a video game. Do I want to go curveball here or changeup? Do I want to pitch backwards or go right at them?”
Thursday wasn’t the first instance in which high praise has been doled out when it comes to Greinke and Grandal. After working together in the Dodgers’ second game of the regular season Greinke said he couldn’t draw up a better catcher than Grandal. Greinke’s straightforward personality certainly added more significance to his comments.
Let’s remember, the 31 year old once told A.J. Ellis he would trade him in order to improve the club. Of Greinke’s 18 starts this season Grandal has been behind the plate for 16 of them. Grandal has caught each of the right-hander’s last five games during which the scoreless streak began and has continued on.
Greinke improved to 8-2 with the win, lowered his ERA to an MLB-best 1.39 and his WHIP sits at a minuscule 0.84. Along with Washington Nationals’ right-hander Max Scherzer, he figures to be in the running to start the All-Star Game in Cincinnati Tuesday night.