Friday, October 16, 2015

Zack Greinke. Hero or goat?

The LA Dodgers' pitching ace is a serious candidate for this year's NL Cy Young award. I mean, c'mon, 32 starts, a 19-3 record, 200 strike outs against only 40 walks, and an incredible low-low ERA of only 1.66 during the regular season? This was lights out stuff.

[For those stats from hell geeks that continue to rant about WAR (wins above replacement), Greinke's was over 9 this year. In other words, the Dodgers won nine more games than they would have if, say, a Kardashian had pitched in his place. The K girls no doubt bring a lot of heat (and a few curves -- no comment on such things as back door sliders, ahem) to the ignorant masses, but I'm guessing none of them would fare so well on the mound against major league hitters.]

But then the playoffs started. The Dodgers faced off against the NY Mets, both division winners. And given two starts, Zack Greinke couldn't win a game. In fact, he took the loss in the recently concluded and deciding Game 5. The Mets move on to face the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS and the Dodgers have been sent packing.

Thing is, Greinke pulled a bonehead in the deciding game that ultimately eliminated his team. Consider the scenario:

In a game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, the Mets were at bat. They had a runner on first with one out. The left-handed hitting NY batter at the time was a known "pull" hitter, so the Dodgers had put on the "shift". You know, basically the third baseman moved to shortstop, the shortstop was on the first base side of second base, and the second baseman was in shallow right field. But Greinke walked the hitter. Of course, the guy on first base trotted down to second. But wait, he quickly noticed no Dodger was anywhere near third base, so he scampered over to take it. Even the third base coach appeared to be stunned.

Greinke had the baseball, the catcher having thrown it back to him after the walk, and everything was still "live". No timeout had been called by anybody. The Met that used to be on first was now on third -- after a WALK. Yours truly cannot remember such a thing every happening before.

So then, instead of runners on first and second with one out, they were on first and third due to Greinke's brain fart. He knew damned good and well the "shift" was on and should have run over to third base to cover it. As fate would have it, the next Met batter hit a fly ball deep enough to the outfield for the guy on third to tag up and score. That made the score 3-2 in favor of the Mets.

At the time that happened, yours truly thought -- Greinke better hope that doesn't turn out to be the deciding run. But it did indeed. The game would end with the same 3-2 score. Mets go on and Dodgers go home.

Here's wishing Zack Greinke all the best and he might well win the NL Cy Young award. His regular season stats were most impressive.

But when push came to shove in the end, Greinke has nobody to blame but himself for the Dodgers demise in the playoffs. The media will spin it in a positive way, because that's what they do. In today's politically correct times, everybody's scared to death of ripping somebody else for fear of being deemed "insensitive", or some other wimpy nonsense.

Regardless, methinks Zack Greinke will not sleep well for a few days. He's been around the major leagues long enough to known he pulled a major bonehead that ultimately resulted in his team getting bounced out of the playoffs.

Replays don't lie and this wasn't even a close call.

After such an heroic regular season performance, it's quite the shame Zack Greinke wound up the goat in the end. Alas......

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