It wasn’t a good first night for Zack Greinke in his Diamondbacks debut last night. The 2015 Cy Young runner-up allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in four innings as the Diamondbacks lost 10-5.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Greinke was pitching with the flu, so Diamondbacks fans should give him a mulligan. Hey, not everyone deals with the flue like Michael Jordan. This stands to be the exception rather than the rule.
But that notwithstanding, it was by far the worst start Greinke has had in a long, long time.
How long? Well, in three seasons Greinke with the Dodgers, he never allowed more than five runs in any start– and did so only twice last season. The last time he allowed seven or more runs in an outing was on May 26, 2012– ironically, against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
He allowed seven runs on ten hits that day as the Diamondbacks won, 8-5, in a 2011 NLDS rematch. After that start he began a streak of 116 consecutive starts of allowing fewer than seven earned runs that was snapped last night.
Crossing the seven earned run threshold is something Greinke has done just nine times in 253 starts since 2008 and 16 times ever in 324 career starts. This was about as un-Greinke a performance as they come.
While it was not a good night for Greinke, the seven earned runs are not the most he has allowed in any game in his career. In fact, it wasn’t even his worst start at Chase Field. That came on June 10, 2005 when he allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in 4.1 innings to the Diamondbacks while Greinke was a Royal. Shawn Green led the way that day with three hits and five RBI.
Zack Greinke had a solid spring, so this performance was surprising. Assuming he had the flu and not a more serious injury, it would make sense to say we won’t be seeing many more starts like this.