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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Articles tagged: Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke takes shot at Astros, AJ Hinch over quick hooks in past

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke on Wednesday took a shot at A.J. Hinch and the Houston Astros over the way they have handled him in the past.

The Astros won Game 4 of the ALCS 4-3 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. Greinke got into trouble in the top of the sixth with a 4-2 lead. Rather than pull him out and go to the bullpen, Astros manager Dusty Baker took a mound visit and liked what he saw from the pitcher. He decided to let Greinke stay in the game, which paid off. Greinke was able to escape the jam with the bases loaded and did not allow anyone to score.

After the game, Greinke expressed appreciation towards Baker for allowing him the chance to get out of the jam.

“It was nice having someone have confidence in me. Since I’ve been here, they haven’t seemed to have confidence in my ability. So it was nice having that happen at an important time like that,” Greinke said.

Greinke was asked if he was referring to Game 7 of the World Series and said “that was one example, but there’s probably a dozen examples if you look back at it.”

Greinke also was asked if he liked a manager who made some decisions based on feel rather than just statistics.

“I would say he’s really, really good at that. I’ve been impressed; he reads people really good, and I don’t think I’ve seen him make a wrong decision when he trusts what he sees. I think he sees the right thing almost 100 percent of the time,” Greinke said.

One of the newer trends in baseball has been the persistent quick hooks for pitchers, especially in the playoffs. Hinch’s absurdly quick hook for Greinke in Game 7 of the World Series last year cost the Astros the championship.

The kind of decision Baker made on Wednesday night may have only extended the ALCS by a game, but it also would have won the team a championship last year. It also seems to be appreciated by the team.

Dusty Baker explains his ballsy decision with Zack Greinke in Game 4

Dusty Baker

The Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. on Wednesday to extend the series. A big turning point came when Astros manager Dusty Baker made a bold call to let Zack Greinke pitch his way out of a sixth inning jam.

Houston was leading 4-2 in the top of the sixth. Greinke got the first batter to ground out, and then Manuel Margot reached on a weak infield single. Austin Meadows followed with a line drive single, putting runners on first and second with one out. Randy Arozarena, who had a 2-run home run in the fourth, was coming up next.

Baker went out to talk with Greinke and was thinking of pulling the starter, who had a relatively elevated pitch count. But Baker decided to stick with Greinke after catcher Martin Maldonado argued in favor of his pitcher.

“I usually don’t change my mind, but I hadn’t had my mind really, really made up, until I got out there and I saw the look in Zack’s eyes,” Baker said after the game. “And (Maldonado) was adamant that he can get this guy. I said, ‘then you got it.’ It was more like old school and doing the thing that I thought was right, and we came out ahead.”

Greinke struck out Arozarena, then allowed another infield single to load the bases for Mike Brosseau. He struck out Brosseau on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.

Baker’s decision paid off, as Houston was able to maintain their 4-2 lead in the inning. Tampa Bay made things very interesting with a run in the ninth and ended the game with the tying run on third.

The Rays still lead the series 3-1. Game 5 will be on Thursday.

If Houston had Baker managing them for Game 7 last year, they would have won the World Series.

Zack Greinke has blunt quote about why he prefers no fans at games

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke offered a blunt explanation about why he prefers not having fans at games.

MLB played the entire 2020 regular season without fans. It wasn’t until the NLCS at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas that a limited amount of fans were allowed to attend games.

Greinke’s Houston Astros are playing against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. and have not had any fans in attendance. The veteran starter likes it that way, because he doesn’t care much for fan interactions like autographs and pictures.

That’s typical Greinke. Who else would admit they don’t care to interact with fans like that?

Just because he doesn’t care for it doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it, however. Greinke still signs autographs and takes photos, it’s just not his favorite thing to do. He probably cares more about just working on his skills.

We can just add this to the growing list of notable quotes from Greinke, who is known for his unintentionally humorous comments.

Video: Zack Greinke told Ramon Laureano his pitch before home run

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke’s eccentric nature may have cost him dearly in a vital moment in Thursday’s ALDS game.

With two on and one out in the top of the second inning, the Houston Astros pitcher appeared to tell Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano what pitch was coming in a 3-2 count. Laureano proceeded to hit a three-run home run to give the A’s a 3-0 lead in an elimination game.

Greinke has done this sort of thing before with much more success. Perhaps this wasn’t the best time to once again test out whatever he was doing here.

That said, Greinke did leave the breaking ball up. Perhaps this turns out a lot better for him if he executes the pitch. He didn’t, and in the end, he paid a heavy price.

Video: Zack Greinke tells hitter what pitch is coming, strikes him out

Zack Greinke has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for years, and his stuff remains as good as ever. So good, in fact, that the Houston Astros star can tell a hitter what’s coming and still blow the ball by him.

Greinke and Astros catcher Martin Maldonado got a bit crossed up with their signs at one point during Wednesday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants. You could clearly hear Greinke shouting the signs at Maldonado and saying “second sign after one” and “second sign after two.”

The call-outs were a lot easier to hear with no fans in the ballpark, but Greinke wanted to be sure Giants infielder Mauricio Dubon knew what was coming. The right-hander literally flashed a “two” sign during Dubon’s at-bat and then struck him out with a nasty slider.

Greinke has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and we saw a great example of that with his reason for reporting late to spring training earlier this year. It didn’t seem like he was trying to embarrass Dubon, but that was the result. When your slider has that much bite, it really doesn’t matter if the hitter knows it’s coming.

Zack Greinke does not seem thrilled about universal DH

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke has long been the proverbial “pitcher who rakes,” so the new designated hitter rule is not exactly a welcome change for him.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, the Houston Astros pitcher reacted to the universal designated hitter rule that will be implemented for the 2020 season.

“I like hitting. I’d rather go back and play a position if I was allowed to,” said Greinke, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “But I’m better at pitching. So people have me pitch.”

Rome’s story added that Greinke, a career .225 hitter, is “disappointed” that he might not be able to bat this season. The former Cy Young winner also has nine career homers and actually hit a stellar .280 with an .888 OPS in 56 plate appearances last season.

At-bats would have been hard to come by anyway now that Greinke is in the American League. But the possibility of the universal DH rule carrying over into 2021 and beyond could mean that the 36-year-old has already hit for the last time. At least Greinke has an ally though in this fellow veteran pitcher.

Zack Greinke had great reason for arriving at spring training well after teammates

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke has avoided much of the media frenzy that began when the Houston Astros first reported to spring training earlier this month, but the star pitcher insists his delayed arrival has nothing to do with the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal.

Greinke, who is entering his 16th MLB season, showed up in West Palm Beach on Saturday — 10 days after pitchers and catchers reported to Astros camp. When asked why he didn’t get there sooner, the 36-year-old said he had no idea in years past that his presence was not mandatory. Had he known, he would have shown up 10 days later every offseason.

While that may sound hard to believe given all that has been going on with the Astros, those who know Greinke would tell you he’s probably being truthful. We’ve seen plenty of examples in the past of Greinke just saying whatever comes to his mind, so his reason for not showing up to spring training sooner is probably legitimate.

Even if Greinke wasn’t avoiding questions about the cheating scandal, the timing worked out for him. The sign-stealing talk is going to be around all season, and the Astros even got booed at home in their spring training opener. However, Greinke got to avoid the team’s charade of an apology press conference and all that went along with it.

Howie Kendrick: ‘Crazy’ that Astros removed Zack Greinke in Game 7

Howie Kendrick

Just in case you needed more proof than the results of Game 7 to know that A.J. Hinch blew it by taking Zack Greinke out in the seventh, just listen to what Howie Kendrick said.

The 2019 World Series documentary has been released, and it includes an interview with Kendrick. Kendrick was coming to the plate when Houston removed Greinke and replaced him with reliever Will Smith. Kendrick hit a 2-run home run off Smith to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead and completely change the game. They went on to win 6-2.

In the World Series documentary, Kendrick said “it’s kind of crazy to me that they took [Greinke] out of the game.” Kendrick’s reaction to Greinke being removed was “yesss.”

Not only was taking Greinke out a poor tactical move considering how well he had been pitching, but Kendrick’s comments point to another factor regarding the move: psychological.

Just taking out a guy who really had Washington’s number that game gave the Nats a big mental boost. Once he was out, they suddenly felt relieved and some confidence. That was no doubt a big factor in them running away with the game.

We already called out Hinch for blowing the World Series with that move. Kendrick’s comments are further proof of the gravity of the error.

AJ Hinch blew the World Series by taking out Zack Greinke

AJ Hinch

The Houston Astros had an ace on the mound who was cruising and pitching one of the most defining games of his life, and their quest for a championship was spoiled by an overzealous and unnecessary pitching change by manager A.J. Hinch.

Zack Greinke showed up with his best form in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night. He was mixing up his pitches, had the Washington Nationals completely off balance, and was dealing. He had a shutout going until the seventh inning, when he allowed a solo home run to the incredible Anthony Rendon. Then he walked Juan Soto — one of the Nats’ best hitters.

Giving up a home run and walk to those two excellent hitters isn’t great, but is almost somewhat expected for any pitcher facing them. Greinke had only thrown 80 pitches and was mowing through Washington otherwise. But Hinch decided to yank his starter in favor of Will Harris rather than let Greinke continue. The move backfired.

The next batter was Howie Kendrick, who gave the Nats their first lead of the game with a 2-run home run. Washington did not look back — they added another run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to win it 6-2.

The kind of game Greinke was delivering is what you dream of as a manager and pitcher in a Game 7. Greinke was in top form. Giving up a home run and walk to two of the best players in the postseason is not a sign your pitcher is losing it. It was too early to say that. Given how great he was going and how few pitches he had thrown, Hinch should have let Greinke face one more batter. If the ace gave up an extra base hit, then I would have pulled him, but after having difficulty with two tough batters, it was too early to say he had lost it.

And before you tell me it’s easy to say all this in hindsight, I actually said it before the home run by Kendrick.

Hinch blew the World Series with the pitching change, it’s that simple. The Nats earned the win, but got some major help.

He said it, you wear it! Astros fans: Carlos Correa called his team Apex Predators. Now it’s time for you to wear the Apex Predators shirt. Purchase it below:

Zack Greinke has changed his stance slightly on no-hitters

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke cares a lot more about winning a game than throwing a no-hitter, but he came close to accomplishing both in his stellar outing against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night. After coming within just two outs of recording the first no-hitter of his career, the right-hander appears to have changed his stance a bit on the accomplishment.

When he was still with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier in the season, Greinke carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals. He told reporters after that game that he does not care about throwing a no-hitter and thinks the attention that would come along with it would be a “hassle.”

Following the Houston Astros’ 3-0 win on Wednesday, Greinke said he still thinks there would be “some hassle” associated with throwing a no-hitter. However, he admitted he wanted this one.

“There’s some hassle to it, but I think I would have liked to have done it,” Greinke said.

Greinke is a quiet guy who has opened up about struggling with social anxiety in the past, so it’s no surprise he has unique feelings about no-hitters. However, he’s also a tremendous competitor who is 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA and has put together another outstanding season at age 35. Any MLB pitcher would feel a bit sour about coming just two outs shy of a no-no, and Greinke was clearly experiencing some of that.