2.63 ERA / 3.23 FIP 177.2 IP 7.5 K/9 2.3 BB/9 (A-)
2013 in brief: Might have made some noise in the Cy Young vote had Carlos Quentin not assaulted him.
2014 status: Still under contract for the rest of time.
With all that happened in Zack Greinke‘s debut season as a Dodger/files/includes/,.css it seems that absolutely no one remembers just how terrified we were when it began. No/files/includes/,.css not the huge contract/files/includes/,.css which we loved/files/includes/,.css or the opt-out/files/includes/,.css which I really had no problem with at all/files/includes/,.css and certainly not three days into camp/files/includes/,.css when we learned about how engaged he was in scouting Corey Seager when he was with Milwaukee.
No/files/includes/,.css it was early in March/files/includes/,.css when we started hearing that Greinke’s right elbow was giving him trouble. He was scratched from a March 11 start/files/includes/,.css then when he returned two weeks later/files/includes/,.css he didn’t exactly give everyone a lot of confidence by looking terrible.
Miraculously/files/includes/,.css he was declared ready for the season/files/includes/,.css and he threw 6.1 perfect innings in his debut against the Pirates. Okay/files/includes/,.css he didn’t/files/includes/,.css but…
But most of all/files/includes/,.css there was Zack Greinke/files/includes/,.css throwing six and a third perfect innings in his Dodger debut before allowing a hit to McCutchen. Lest you be eager to point out a potential mistake and note that Garrett Jones actually had a single in the second inning/files/includes/,.css let me remind you how that play actually went down…
…and so I stand by my statement. Greinke went 92 pitches/files/includes/,.css striking out six/files/includes/,.css in what was known to be an outing where he’d have a bit of a leash on him after his abbreviated spring.
So with Greinke and Clayton Kershaw leading the way/files/includes/,.css everything was puppies and roses/files/includes/,.css especially when he looked good over five innings against San Diego his next time out and… oh… oh no. Damn you/files/includes/,.css Carlos Quentin.
You know what happened/files/includes/,.css and so I’m not going to regurgitate it here. Greinke had surgery/files/includes/,.css but was back on a mound for a rehab stint in less than a month/files/includes/,.css on May 10. Needless to say/files/includes/,.css we were terrified:
Considering that the original diagnosis for Greinke was around eight weeks/files/includes/,.css or mid-to-late June/files/includes/,.css this would be a phenomenally quick recovery. Is it too soon? I don’t know/files/includes/,.css and neither do you; we aren’t doctors and don’t know the specifics of his health. We’ve heard that he’s already thrown two bullpen sessions of 60 pitches where he’s reached 90 MPH/files/includes/,.css and that all sounds great.
My hope/files/includes/,.css however/files/includes/,.css is that he’s nearly ready to come back because he’s nearly ready/files/includes/,.css and not because the team has lost seven games in a row. We’ve seen that be attempted and fail far too many times — looking at you/files/includes/,.css Matt Kemp from last year — and it’s the last thing this club needs.
Greinke returned on May 15/files/includes/,.css and… it wasn’t good. In his first four starts/files/includes/,.css he allowed at least four runs four times. His velocity was down. There were quiet reports indicating that he had absolutely come back so quickly mostly because the team was in such sad shape. There were flashes/files/includes/,.css like when he threw six scoreless on June 6 against the Braves/files/includes/,.css but it was mostly about inconsistency. In four starts from June 16 to July 3 — remember/files/includes/,.css this is when things started going wonderfully for the team — he allowed four or more earned runs three times. And/files/includes/,.css of course/files/includes/,.css he was a primary participant in the June 12 brawl with Arizona.
But on July 8/files/includes/,.css he went into Arizona and shut out the Diamondbacks over seven innings. His next time out/files/includes/,.css he shut out the Rockies on two hits… and then shut down the Nationals on one run over six innings… and he’d kicked off a run where over his final 16 starts of the season/files/includes/,.css he allowed more than two earned runs once.
Why? Well/files/includes/,.css it helped that the velocity came back:
…but I found it fascinating that he was seemingly doing it without his best pitch/files/includes/,.css though that ended up changing as the season went on. Over the second half of the season/files/includes/,.css his K/BB was 80/19; only Kershaw and Ubaldo Jimenez topped his 1.85 ERA. Oh/files/includes/,.css and he merely hit .328/.409/.379 in 72 plate appearances/files/includes/,.css contributing 1.2 WAR on offense alone. Yeah/files/includes/,.css he was that good.
Greinke kept up his run in the playoffs/files/includes/,.css striking out 17 against just two walks in three starts/files/includes/,.css and I know I can’t wait to see what a full season from him might bring. There’s so much risk in these nine figure deals/files/includes/,.css especially for pitchers/files/includes/,.css and when you can look back one year in and say “yep/files/includes/,.css I’d do that deal again 10 times out of 10/files/includes/,.css” that’s a nice place to be.
Next! Chris Capuano‘s weird year!