No matter who was opposing him on the mound Saturday afternoon, Zack Greinke was not going to be beaten. The bats of the reigning champion St. Louis Cardinals were rendered useless by the Brewers right hander.
Greinke (1-0) gave up only four hits in seven scoreless innings while striking out seven and walking none as the Brewers erased an ugly Opening Day loss with a 6-0 victory. According to manager Ron Roenicke, he was “as good as it gets” on the hill. No hitter felt Greinke’s sheer dominance on Saturday more than Carlos Beltran.
In three plate appearances against Greinke, Beltran,who homered and had two hits in Friday’s game, struck out twice and tapped out meagerly back to the pitcher. Greinke sent the Cardinals right fielder back to the dugout in the first on a filthy curveball that Beltran swung right though. Beltran received the brute end of a stick of domination served by Zack Greinke and the Brewers.
Outside of the fifth inning, any threat from the Cardinals was chimerical–and what St. Louis could even muster up against Greinke in the fifth was minimal. The only time St. Louis put two runners aboard on Greinke was in that fifth inning after David Freese reached on an infield “single” (replays showed Aramis Ramirez’s throw beat Freese at first) and an error-turned-hit off the glove of Rickie Weeks.
If Saturday was a preview of coming attractions for the 2009 American League Cy Young winner, then Brewers fans are in for a treat. As for the rest of the National League….not so much.
Greinke showed shades of 2009 down to the pinpoint in his start. His seven innings and 91 pitches were punctuated by impeccable command and ability to get ahead and stay ahead. Umpire Laz Diaz was able to open up the strike zone as Greinke got ahead early with a fastball that clocked as high as 95 mph and put hitters away with a pulchritude of a 65 mph curveball.
“I try to throw it even lower,” Greinke said after the game.
It was arguably one of Greinke’s best starts as a Brewer against one of the league’s premier offenses. The Cardinals only managed to
square up a handful of pitches. A Freese single in the second inning and a Molina fly out to Nyjer Morgan in deep center loomed as all St. Louis (2-1) would get out of Greinke. At only 91 pitches, Roenicke could have sent his starter out for the eighth inning, but wisely decided against it with Milwaukee already holding a 4-0 advantage.
When Greinke is “on”, he has proven to be nearly unhittable. A lethal combination of his pinpoint fastball, sharp slider, and slow curve keep hitters off-balance, maintain a low pitch count, and rack up K’s.
If he maintains even portions of the form he put on display Saturday, my message to the National League is to watch out because Zack Greinke is poised to dominate. Or should I say GreinKKKKKe?