It wasn’t long ago when Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke was routinely let down by a lack of run support that resulted in a nine-game stretch where the right-hander was without a win. Only twice did Greinke allow more than run one over that span, going 0-2 in the process.
Now, Greinke has a scoreless streak that’s reached 27.2 consecutive innings after he blanked the New York Mets over seven frames on Saturday. “I just think he’s doing what he always does,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of after watching Greinke shut down another offense.
“For me, he throws the fastball to both sides of the plate. He uses the changeup. He has the slider when he really needs it. He’ll mix in a curveball. And really with all of that, he knows where he wants to go with every guy.”
Mattingly also praised Greinke for his ability to focus on each batter with a specific plan in mind. “There’s not a guy that walks up there he doesn’t know how he wants to pitch him,” Mattingly said. “Him and Clayton [Kershaw] are probably over the top as far as knowing exactly what they want to do with every guy. Zack has the weapons. He does his homework and he’s able to execute. It’s pretty simple really.”
As the scoreless innings continue to pile up, more attention has been cast to Greinke’s work in progress, though he isn’t among those focusing on it. “I don’t really think about it,” he said. “I had a good one in Kansas City. I thought it was cool then, but now I don’t really pay attention to it.”
Greinke threw 24 consecutive scoreless innings with the Kansas City Royals in 2009, the same season he won the American League Cy Young Award. If including the end of the 2008 season, Greinke’s tossed 38 innings without allowing a run.
The streak was snapped on an unearned run. “I guess I just don’t think about the past or the future,” Greinke said when asked why the change of heart in how he views the scoreless stretch.
As for differences between the two streaks, Greinke said his 2009 run came when offense was more prevalent, particularly in the AL. Given he was in his age-25 season, there’s also a contrast in velocity. “I was probably more nastier,” Greinke added.
While the right-hander held the Mets without a run, New York rallied against the Dodgers bullpen. They scored two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth. J.P. Howell entered with two outs and the go-ahead run at the plate.
Howell struck out Curtis Granderson to end the game, which came as little surprise to Greinke. “It seems like the tougher the situation, the better he does,” he said.