“The Curious Case of Zack Greinke”, Coming to a Ballpark Near You

Bare KnucksAnalyst IAugust 6, 2009


Remember when Zach Greinke was slated to pitch for the Royals and fans around baseball simply assumed that Kansas City was the favorite to win on that particular day? Well those days lasted about as long as your average fruit fly’s lifespan.

In his past ten starts, the Royals are 2-8 when Greinke toes the rubber, Greinke going 2-5 during that span. In his past two starts in particular, the 2009 All-Star has surrendered 8 ER in 11 innings to go along with 15 base hits. His ERA has risen from 1.72 to 2.36 over the course of his recent ineffective streak. Now an ERA of 2.36 is not what one would consider high, but if he continues at this pace, the one time Cy Young Award front-runner will fade back into mediocrity…where he belongs.

Greinke has always been a “head case” during his MLB career, and it looks as though this mental midget is falling back into familiar patterns. The career 44-51 right hander has a lifetime ERA of 3.87, a far cry from the Greinke who toted a Major League Baseball leading sub 1.00 ERA for a majority of the first half of the season.

Zack Greinke has great stuff, but much like other young right handers Manny Parra and Clay Buchholz of the Brewers and Red Sox respectively, he doesn’t always necessarily show it. Mental fortitude is one of the attributes that separates the good pitchers from those who are considered great. Josh Beckett is a prime example of this. Beckett and Greinke have similar talent, however it’s Josh’s mental toughness and bulldog mentality on the mound that makes him an elite front of the rotation pitcher.

Clearly Greinke is going through a rough patch. The problem is that he may not have what it takes mentally to get through it. This is the type of performance that can potentially ruin the rest of his season, and in turn his career if he cannot manage to push through it. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from his recent start against Tampa Bay that saw him get roughed up to the tune of six earned runs in five innings.

Looking at it from monthly intervals, it’s easy to see that Greinke’s hot start could be classified as a “fluke”: [Read more...]