Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Zack Greinke has been impressive all season. Yasmani Grandal compared catching the right-hander to being behind the controller of a video game. And what does Greinke think? Well, he’s taking the ball every fifth day and just pitching.
“Definitely command-wise,” Greinke answered when asked if this was the best he’s pitched in his career. Since allowing two runs over innings in a loss to the San Diego Padres on June 13, opponents have had trouble so much as reaching second base, let alone scoring off the right-hander.
Greinke extended his scoreless innings streak to 35.2 with eight shutout frames Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the process of adding to the scoreless streak, Greinke retired
“Everything was pretty good,” he said of the outing. “The location was good and I got ahead in the count, get a couple of outs and when no one is on base you can attack them.”
With a fifth consecutive start under his belt without allowing a run, has the scoreless streak and starting the All-Star Game been on Greinke’s mind? “Not really,” he said while adding personal achievements have been on the back burner since he signed with the Dodgers.
“When you get a good contract, you don’t have to worry about anything other than making your pitches,” he said. “Things will take care of themselves.” Greinke’s night came to an end at 94 pitches. Given the quick innings he’d put together, some held the expectation he’d get an opportunity to match Clayton Kershaw with a complete game of his own.
However, when the Dodgers extended their lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the eighth manager Don Mattingly said there was no need to push his right-hander. Greinke said he wanted the opportunity to pitch the ninth inning but added, “It didn’t hurt my feelings not to.”
Great as the 31 year old has been thus far, he’s expecting at least one stat to increase. “I think people will start getting more hits off me in the second half,” he said. “I just have to keep making quality pitches and not allow doubles and homers. Quality pitches makes it harder on them to drive the ball.”
Greinke has allowed 16 hits over his last five starts. He lowered his ERA to an MLB-best 1.39 and also owns an impressive 0.84 WHIP. A student of the game and as cerebral of a pitcher you’ll find, Greinke presumably is aware of his 2.65 FIP and 3.18 xFIP, which suggest some regression to the mean.