Zack Greinke had a big day on Tuesday night – for a number of reasons.
First off, it was the former Cy Young award winner’s return to Kansas City. Kaufmann Stadium was home to some of Greinke’s greatest performances, and he and the rest of Brewer Nation were hoping he could add one more to help Milwaukee wright the ship as the season approaches the halfway mark.
He did give a great performance, unfortunately the same could not be said for the rest of Milwaukee as Kansas City edged out the Crew in a 2-1 victory.
In fact, the only real trouble Zack Greinke ever got into came in the first at-bat of the game. A full-count fastball to Royals lead-off hitter Alex Gordon sailed over the center field fence and gave Kansas City a very early lead.
Almost on cue, Greinke struck out the next Royals and induced a ground ball out to end the first inning. It was a deficit, but Greinke certainly showed the Kansas City crowd what they were missing.
Greinke would strike out six more Royals on his way to a very respectable one run, six hit, seven inning performance. On any other day, one run from Greinke is a dead-lock for a win – but Tuesday night’s offensive performance was one of the weakest of the 2012 campaign.
It would be something if Kansas City’s hurler had battled pitch-for-pitch with Greinke’s lights-out performance, but that simply wasn’t the case. Luis Mendoza has a very good line (six innings, one hit, one run, two walks and four K’s) but he was far from unhittable in the series opener. The Crew connected with countless pitches throughout the night, but there always seemed to be a Royal in the way. All in all, Milwaukee only managed five hits, and left seven men scattered on the bases. Only Rickie Weeks, surprisingly, had more than one hit on the night – he even drove in the only run to tie the game in the seventh inning.
It would be the closest they would come to taking the game. After that, it was poor decisions that would win the day for Kansas City on the back of good performances by winning pitcher Greg Jolland and closer Jonathan Broxton, who notched his fifteenth save on the year.
Milwaukee’s only reliever of the night, embattled set-up man Francisco Rodriguez, only made two mistake pitches on the night. Unfortunately one was a double to Alex Gordon and the second was the
Billy Butler single that secured Frankie’s loss and Kansas City’s victory.
The last mistake, though perhaps only in theory, was Ron Roenicke’s decision to pinch hit Brooks Conrad – he of the .086 batting average – for Martin Maldonado. Maldonado was hit-less on the night, but at least he came into the game batting around .240. Not stellar, but in my mind the better option of the two.
There was no question that Tuesday’s game was one that Milwaukee should have one. Through bad decisions, poor play and general disarray the team suffered a tough one-run loss. It’s hard to believe, seeing games like this one, that Milwaukee is still very much alive at five and a half games back of the division lead. But if the offense continues down this anemic road, and pitchers like Frankie can’t get back into championship form, they may not be alive for much longer.