After Robbie Ray’s short outing of five innings on Saturday, the Arizona Diamondbacks desperately needed a quality start out of their $206.5 million dollar man.
Zack Greinke delivered.
Greinke (5-3) pitched eight innings, the longest outing for a Diamondbacks starting pitcher this season. He only gave up one run on five hits with seven strikeouts in the team’s 7-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 32-year-old continues to show improvements over his last five starts.
A 3-1 record in May with a 4.26 ERA for Greinke has certainly been better than his 2-2 record with a 5.50 ERA in April.
His numbers in May have been uplifting, especially how Greinke performed in his first few starts with the team. The pitcher gave up 21 earned runs in his first five starts, the most since August 2012 when he gave up 23 runs in six starts with the Los Angeles Angels.
It’s becoming more and more apparent, however, that the Diamondbacks should not expect the 2015 version of Greinke or possibly any Los Angeles Dodgers version of Greinke.
The realization is that Greinke is simply not the same guy who pitched a sub-two ERA last year in Chavez Ravine, and it wouldn’t be fair for the team, fans or Greinke himself to expect that type of season from him.
The season they could expect to get is the 2011 Greinke.
Greinke went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011. If Greinke replicated his 2011 campaign, that would be the best win total and ERA combination for the Diamondbacks since 2012 when Wade Miley went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA.
The optimist would say, however, is that it’s still early in the season to make any hasty proclamations. Greinke’s performance at home so far has not been stellar, a 2-3 record with a 6.63 ERA, but his adjustments are noticeable. He surrendered 20 total runs in his first four home starts in April, but has only given up seven runs in two home starts this month. Given that Chase Field is notoriously considered a hitter’s ballpark, Greinke’s adjustments are impressive.
His recent improvements show that the Diamondbacks do have a true ace on their pitching staff, and fans should continue to expect a win whenever Greinke takes the mound.