Though it may have been later than Diamondbacks fans had hoped for, veteran pitcher Zack Greinke proved that he’s still got it during his start Friday night versus the Padres.
Coming into Friday night’s game against San Diego, Greinke struggled in his first two starts at Chase Field yielding 11 runs over 10 innings of work in the desert. His first start was worst of all as he got shelled for 7 runs while giving up two home runs to the Rockies rookie Trevor Story.
Greinke acknowledged his pitching this season had been sub-par and had serious room for improvement. It couldn’t have worked out better for the Diamondbacks ace as he received his third start of the season in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Historically, Greinke has thrown well in the safe confines of Petco. Over his last three seasons, in which he got to see a lot of San Diego as it was just down the coast from Dodger Stadium, he went 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA. Over his time with the Dodgers he went 5-1 overall versus the Padres and kept their average against him at a mere .168. And while Padres lineups have changed over that time, it helps that current Padres have a combined .208 average versus Greinke.
Friday nights game was not perfect, but it was a huge step in the right direction. Greinke posted 7.1 innings of solid work while only giving up 2 runs. Another positive to take away from his start was that there were not a lot of hard hit balls. The two runs came in on a bloop single to left and a soft dribbler that just made it to the left field grass. A contributing factor for his success was his command as he only walked one batter and threw 62 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
Though he still is yet to find a win this season taking a no decision in his Friday night game, this start was a huge sign for fans and for Greinke himself that he can still be dominant. He’ll need to be his best in his next start because he is scheduled to face the always tough Madison Bumgarner up in the bay.
Both of these pitchers are going to be no pushover at the plate. Bumgarner has already contributed a home run to his campaign and Greinke has two hits and an RBI this season. While both pitchers haven’t quite yet found their stride on the hill, it should be an interesting matchup between the two aces.