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What's up with Zack Greinke?

Apr 17, 2010, 1:20 PM EDT

Zack Greinke frustrated.jpgIt’s the obvious storyline after Friday’s 10-3 loss to the Twins. Greinke allowed four runs — two earned — over five innings while walking five and striking out five. The five walks were the most Greinke had allowed in a start since June 13, 2008.

Through his first three starts this season, Greinke has allowed 10 runs — seven earned — over 17 2/3 innings (3.57 ERA). He didn’t give up his seventh earned run last season until May 26 — in his 10th start of the year. Greinke gave up back-to-back home runs in his last start against the Red Sox. He didn’t give up his first home run last season until June 5 — his 12th start of the season.

Greinke tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that his early ineffectiveness could be due to a failure to execute his game plan:

“I think my mind is just not right on how to pitch,” he said, “because
every game I’ve been able to throw the ball close to where I wanted (to
throw it). I’m just not getting the job done.

“It could be, a
little bit, just not executing the pitches. But I think my game plan has
been wrong. Some of the pitches are not really sharp, but they’re good
enough to where I should, at the very least, be able to pitch deeper
into games.”

I’m confident that Greinke will be just fine moving forward, but it’s no stretch to say that he could be battling two exterior factors right now. One, the pressure to be perfect knowing that his joke of a bullpen could cough up a lead and at any moment. And two, trying to pitch with the knowledge that his start to the ’09 season is an impossibly difficult act to follow.

  1. JJ Metz - Apr 17, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Could be worth noting that his fastball was consistently 90-92 last night, whereas last year he was usually 95 or higher. Not sure how reliable the TV radar readings are, but I thought it seemed like his velocity wasn’t quite there. Slider wasn’t as sharp, either.

  2. Raffy - Apr 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    The walks are not pretty, but is a 3.57 ERA honestly something to be concerned about? Expectations set higher than ever are gonna lead to a media meltdown every time Grienke has a bad start. Plus the crap defense behind him so far can’t be helping.
    I see that Alex Rodriguez doesn’t have any homers yet! Oh god! What’s wrong?!? Should he retire?

  3. toadz - Apr 17, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Fangraphs shows the velocity is basically the same on all his pitches this year:

  4. Curious George - Apr 17, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Gotta love mid-April… no shortage of the sky is falling stories. Plus the added bonus of armchair psychiatrists describing exactly why the sky is falling. Sweet.

  5. D-Luxxx - Apr 17, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Hmm, he must suck. I mean he only gave up one earned run to Detroit (and took a loss because of no offense) and then had to take on the Red Sox and Twins (two of the better offenses thus far). Maybe it’s the quality of the opponents and the inadequacy of the Royals pitching that’s doing him in…

  6. D-Luxxx - Apr 17, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    That should say inadequacy of the Royals hitting.

  7. Wells - Apr 17, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Take away Greinke’s 2009 and look at his career. This is Zack Greinke. Regression is what is happening.

  8. 60eagles - Apr 18, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    “My mind is not right to pitch” Damn there is a new one. Is your mind thinking about the millions you make and that you should be living a perfect, debt free, happy life. I guess he just wants to be a victim. Just what the hell does he mean “My mind is not right to pitch”. What an arse.

  9. Ron - Apr 18, 2010 at 2:59 AM

    I’ve watched all 3 games he’s pitched. He’s pussy-footing around and try to live on the corners, and pitch like Greg Maddux instead of going after the hitters and challenging them and overpowering them.
    This has got be on Kendall, because Meche did the same thing today in the 2nd inning. Once he stopped playing around and went after tht hitters, he was fine.
    Kendall seems to be working to the game plan he wants, and not what the strenghs of the pitcher is. It might work for guys like Bannister and Davies, but it won’t work for the others. They need to challenge the hitters, not try to get them to chase pitches out of the strike zone.
    When the Twins laid off, they walked. Once they started pounding the zone, the pitchers were effective. But not to worry. Having Jason Kendall screw up his starting pitching is all part of the “process”.

  10. Dave Martin - Apr 18, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    The guy has struggled with depression for years. Depression is a medical condition that has nothing to do with how many zeroes are in your paycheck.

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