When a pitcher has a bad outing, you shrug it off. If you get lit up by the Colorado Rockies, you definitely let it go. Even for a Cy Young Award winner, a bad outing is part of the game.
But when a dominant pitcher gets tagged for eight runs in less than four innings against the team his old catcher plays for, you know what’s going on.
Updating a story we've been following all year over at BaseballEvolution.com , Colorado Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo had the day off on Sunday as the Rockies faced the Kansas City Royals, his old team, and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.
However, Olivo probably didn’t sit this game out; Olivo almost certainly played the role of "special assistant to the manager" for this one, sitting right next to Rockies manager Jim Tracy and giving him everything he knows about his former teammate.
Olivo, of course, was Greinke’s catcher for all of 2009, when Greinke dominated the AL and won the Cy Young Award despite playing for the AL's second worst team. The Royals, for whatever reason, chose not to bring Olivo back in 2010, and now Olivo is the primary catcher for this year’s breakout pitcher in the National League, Ubaldo Jimenez.
Meanwhile, Greinke is now 1-5 on the season with a hardly Cy Young caliber 3.57 ERA.
How bad was Greinke’s outing on Sunday?
By Greinke standards, horrendous.
This was only the second time since Greinke became the Royals’ ace that he failed to go five innings, and the first time since July, 2008.
His eight runs allowed was the most since June, 2008, and it was the first time since 2007 that Greinke failed to strikeout more than one batter.
That the Rockies faced off against the Royals at all this season is deliciously ironic for Olivo.
What were the odds of Kansas City and Colorado facing each other in 2010, the season that Olivo joined the Rockies after being shunned by the Royals?
These two teams play in different leagues, and had only played 12 games against each other—ever—coming into this season.
Nevertheless, the baseball gods intervened, and it worked in Olivo’s favor.
So, in addition to Ubaldo Jimenez's breakout season and the no-hitter Jimenez pitched earlier this year, you can go ahead and add Zack Grienke’s worst game in three years to Miguel Olivo’s list of accomplishments with the 2010 Colorado Rockies.
I would imagine the Kansas City Royals will have trouble shrugging this one off.