Blog Entry

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

Posted on: October 15, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: October 15, 2011 1:41 am
Zack Greinke

By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- Among qualified starters during the regular season, no pitcher struck out more batters per nine innings than Zack Greinke, and just 11 pitchers had a higher percentage of swings and misses on their pitches than Greinke's 10.6 percent.

To say Greinke wasn't that pitcher in Game 5 of the NLCS on Friday is an understatement. He didn't record a strikeout and of the 89 pitches he threw, there were just two swings and misses by Cardinals batters. So instead of his season percentage that was better than Justin Verlander (10.2 percent), his 2.25 swing-and-miss percentage was closer to Elih Villanueva of the Marlins, and nearly a full percent less than the swing-and-miss rate recorded by Scott Kazmir. So as much as his fielders struggled behind him in the Cardinals' 7-1 victory, Greinke can shoulder plenty of blame himself.

NLCS Coverage

"Wasn’t a great game pitched for me," Greinke said afterward. "Made several mistakes that ended up costing us. They pitched a good game. Tough loss. Definitely could have done better and made it a better game. I made a couple tough mistakes."

Both of the swinging strikes came on fastballs, while his best out pitch, his slider went for 11 strikes, but none of them swings and misses. 

No batter swung and missed at a pitch until Greinke's 68th pitch of the night, a 1-1 fastball to Matt Holliday in the fifth inning. Holliday hit his next pitch to shortstop for a hit. Greinke's next swinging strike was on his 88th pitch of the night, a 1-1 fastball to Albert Pujols in the sixth. Pujols blasted Greinke's next pitch into left for an RBI single.

"I don't think his slider was biting as it usually was tonight," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He had velocity, but his movement wasn't there and it usually is on his slider. His best pitches are his slider and his fastball, and if his slider's not working, it takes away from his fastball."

Greinke's fastball averaged 93 mph and had a high of 95.4 mph, but the Cardinals weren't missing them. He still threw 18 sliders (20 percent), close to his usual percentage.

"The slider wasn’t very sharp at all today," Greinke said. "I kind of wanted to get it up a little more and get some weak contact with it. I did that pretty good. But whenever I needed to get it down, I had some trouble doing that. The last pitch to Albert (Pujols) was a hanging slider, and if I get it down, it’s probably a strikeout. You could say that several other times, where if I’d have gotten the slider down better, there’d have been better results."

In all, he allowed seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and five runs, although just two were earned. He actually lowered his postseason ERA to a pedestrian 6.48 -- hardly the type of production expected from a former Cy Young-winner who demanded out of Kansas City so he could pitch in playoff games. Now three games into his playoff career, he's not shown himself to be the level of Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, the top-line pitchers who also have proven themselves under baseball's brightest lights. And make no mistake, there were those who wondered how Greinke would fare under the glare of the postseason. While it's not appeared to be a mental block, his lack of production in the postseason will be an issue and concern until he proves he can pitch on this stage.

He didn't have help on Friday -- Jerry Hairston Jr. missed a grounder by Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia that allowed two runs to score, Corey Hart missed a ball in right field that produced St. Louis' first run, Rickie Weeks missed a tough over-the-shoulder catch in the fourth before commttin an error in the fifth and Yuniesky Betancourt's error in the sixth aided the Cardinals' final run off of Greinke. That's all true, but it's also true that Molina's double and Garcia's grounder in the second were both hit very hard. That's because Greinke wasn't fooling anybody, and like it or not, his reputation in the postseason will be based more on what he's done in his three starts this October than anything he's done in the past.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Since: Jan 2, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:26 pm

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

As a Tiger fan I could not have said it better.  The game is about talent, guts and breaks.  Tigers put down the high dollar Yankees again.  Was really hoping for a Detroit / St. Louis rematch.  A couple of blown calls cost them 5 runs in the third.  If they can climb out of this, anything is possible.  Good luck to you and your Dirty Birds.

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:28 pm

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

First off, you will find morons in every fanbase.  That comment below was obviously from a guy who was drunk last night or hungover this morning. 

Second, everyone can play the "what if" game.  It was insane for La Russa to let Garcia pitch to Braun in Game 1.  If he takes him out there, the series is probably already over.  So, neither team can talk trash.  Every team has flaws.  That's the beauty of baseball.  The worst team plays .400 ball, the best .600 - not a ton of difference.  The best teams typically have the highest payroll, so they have nothing to brag about (Yes talking to you pansy Red Sox and Yankee fans).  The worst teams don't invest enough money in their on-field product so they have nothing to whine about (Hello Royals and Marlins and yes even the Holy Grail Rays).

As a Cardinal fan I will say the team was "lucky" to win the 06 Series.  They were lucky to get pasty Philly in round 1 (what with their bats going dormant).  They were lucky to make the playoffs at all.  And they are lucky if the win the Series again this year. 

But if that happens, well, that will make 11 Championships for the franchise.  And there's not one thing the critics can do to take that away.  I don't care if you say its "luck" - you can't argue with results.  I'm happy to be a Cardinal fan and I've enjoyed these past two months more than the 100-win teams from 04 and 05.

Go Cards.

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:34 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

I'll be the first to admit that Greinke caused some of his own problems last night, but look at what the defense (4 errors, 3 unearned runs and 2 other balls that should've been caught by Weeks and Hart) and hitting (9 hits, 1 run, Gomez caught stealing) gave him to work with. The Brewer's weaknesses showed up in spades last night, but so far they have been able to hold it together to still have a good shot at winning this thing.

Other than the game 2 collapse, every one of these games has been within the Brewer's grasp but they have not capitalized on what the Cards have given them. Now it comes down to whether or not they can at least minimize the mistakes and capitalize on chances in the next 2 games.

And hope to God that Marcum comes up with a decent performance, as well as end that horrible 0 for 24 streak with RISP and two outs - that single stat on its own describes a lot of the Brewer's woes this postseason.

Guess we'll just have to see what happens and hope the Crew has a plan to fix some of these holes next year.     

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:24 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

Wow, podzikom, another classy remark from a Cardinals fan.

What a tool.  

Since: Sep 14, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:59 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

gotta' love when greinke and morgan FAIL.  hey morgan, how's that cardinal d*ck taste?

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:32 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

Watching Greinke stink makes my day.  He has the arrogance of an NBA player or NFL wideout.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:31 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

7 hits and 2 BB with 0 Ks in 5 2/3 innings?  You can make the argument that he wasn't the primary cause of last nights loss but, definitely not a stellar performance from the guy who's supposed to be their ace.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:24 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

Ok, so he won 16 this year but still had an ERA of almost 4.00.  Did some digging an found this from Thomas Boswell at the Washington Post which, I found to be quite interesting.  Different scenario than the hump beat writers the Post has covering the Nats.

A couple of folks have pointed this out [regarding the deal being for Zimmermann, Storen and Espinosa]. Interesting point. However, the Nats and Royals never got anywhere close to picking the actual Nats players in the trade. (Grienke nixed it before that could happen.) There was a list of 10 Nats players that KC was going to pick from __described to me as "the usual suspects." Meaning the best young Nats players that everybody knew.  BUT it is incorrect to think that the Royals were going to get ANY three they wanted or the BEST three __like Z'mann, Storen and Espinosa. No way. They'd probably have gotten ONE of them, plus a Bernadina and perhaps a cacther (not Ramos).

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:24 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

Greinke is the last person to blame for last night's loss.  Unless you also expected him to produce a few runs to support himself, since the inept offense couldn't.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:19 am

Errors didn't help, but neither did Greinke

The Nats almost traded Zimmermann, Espinosa and Storen for this guy?  Whew, thank God he didn't want to come to DC.  Never sold on Greinke as the ace of a staff.  He did have that one great year in 2009 but, not much since.  Think Zimm can be just as good and with Espinosa and Storen still in house, think the Nats could be where the Brewers are in another year or two.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or