After going 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA through his first six starts of the season, Zack Greinke has had one tough-luck outing after another. While the significance of a win for a pitcher is largely deemed an irrelevant start, it’s difficult to ignore the performances Greinke has put forth with little to show for it.
Since May 11, he’s allowed more than one earned run in just two of his last seven starts; yet the Los Angeles Dodgers are only 3-4 in those games. Saturday was another demonstration of the Dodgers being unable to provide any run support for their right-hander as they managed just one run on five innings over seven frames of Ian Kennedy and one inning each from Kevin Maurer and Craig Kimbrel.
After committing an error in the first inning that led to a run Greinke blanked the Padres until he allowed a two-out solo home run to Justin Upton in the eighth that proved to be the difference in the game. “I was trying to make a quality pitch,” Greinke said when asked about the slider that sunk the Dodgers.
“Three-one, I made a good one. Three-two, I think that was the first bad slider I threw all day. That’s his specialty. When you mistake he does a lot of damage.” Yasmani Grandal said there was some thought given to pitching around Upton to face Matt Kemp, who was 0-for-2 at that point, having reached only on Greinke’s first-inning error.
“I was trying to make a really good pitch, not completely pitch around someone. Matt’s pretty dangerous,” Greinke said. “But, I did not want to throw the ball down the middle of the plate.” Kemp finished 0-for-3 after grounding out to end the eighth.
As for whether frustration may be mounting for him, previous seasons are helping Greinke keep the last month’s worth of starts in some perspective. “The first six years of my career was worse than that,” he said, referencing his time with the Kansas City Royals. “You just do what you do.”
The loss was Greinke’s first of his career to the Padres. Along with expressing frustration over giving up the home run, Greinke lamented himself for not contributing at the plate. “Last game, I got some hits myself,” he said.
“In the National League, you can do something to help yourself out. I got one pitch to hit today and missed it. But I mean, I had a chance.” Greinke’s next scheduled start is Thursday when the Dodgers host the Texas Rangers.