Nightmare! Then Wow! Then D'OH!
Zack Greinke tonight learned an important lesson: when you throw the ball belt high over the middle of the plate, you're gonna get lit up like Ted Kennedy at a Chappaquiddick cocktail party.
4.1 IP, 15 H, 11 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
It hurts to look at. It was just a dreadful night for Greinke, his fifth poor outing in a row. The only positive was the bomb he hit to left center, but even the joy RC received from that was short-lived.
Folks, it is too early to panic, but it's definitely time to be concerned. Something ain't right with Greinke, and he's going to have to make some serious adjustments to right the ship. Hopefully Royals pitching guru Guy Hansen is on top of it, because right now, Greinke doesn't even come close to resembling his rookie form, let alone the form of a Major League pitcher. His fastballs and changeups are finding way too much plate, and his hard breaking balls have little movement. The only effective pitch he has right now is the slow curve, and a pitcher simply cannot survive with only one quality pitch.
EDITOR'S NOTE: the above was written in the fifth inning of last night's game, when the score was 11-2. The below was written after the miracle comeback, and the pop-up GW HR by Troy Glaus.
Well, that was certainly an interesting game. It was great to see the Royals claw back in the late innings the way they did. And they did it by taking pitches and drawing walks. Finally in the eighth inning, the Royals took advantage of the home plate umpire's ridiculously small strike zone, drawing six walks off of three different pitchers while scoring six runs. One can only imagine what might have happened if they had taken a similar approach earlier in the game against Russ Ortiz, a pitcher who is prone to giving up free passes in bunches. But whatever...nice comeback.
And now for Matt Diaz... What in the hell was his at bat all about? In case you missed it, Diaz pinch "hit" for Ambiorix Burgos in the top of the 10th inning with one out. Except he didn't go up to hit. With NOBODY ON BASE, Diaz attempted to bunt the ball up the first base line, but pushed it foul. That didn't set of too many alarms with RC, because it might not have been completely foolish to try to catch the D-backs by surprise with the first baseman playing back. But on the next pitch, the crazy bastard squared around AGAIN, only to take the pitch for a ball. At this point, RC's official television became a target, as anything within an arm's reach was being tossed at it.
After taking another ball and another strike, Diaz AGAIN squared around to bunt, only to miss and strike out. At this point, if you were standing anywhere within 500 feet of RC Headquarters, you would have been exposed to a stream of obscenities that would make R. Lee Ermey proud. I can think of only three posibilities that would explain that at bat:
1) Diaz was hurt and could not swing; or
2) Diaz is the world's biggest moron; or
3) Some coach told him to do it
Honestly, I have no idea what the correct answer is, but hopefully I'll find out soon. Right now, I suspect it was #1. Regardless, I sincerely hope Diaz is the odd man out tomorrow when Howell is placed on the 25-man roster, although the injury to Steve Stemle today may have given him a reprieve. We'll see. If he's hurt, he could be gone too.