Zach Greinke Gets Shellacked, Chip Hale Blames Media In Embarrassing Loss On Opening Night
The Diamondbacks in opened up a new era in the franchise’s history last night, officially beginning the evolution and the 19th season of D-backs baseball.
This opening night was supposed to be different. But instead, they lost their third straight opening game.
Before we put this “one game” behind us, here are three takeaways from 2016 regular season opener.
Takeaway #1: Chip Hale’s Postgame Comments Went One Step to Far
This game was hyped up like no other game that I can remember in this team’s history, and it had to do with the $206.5 million dollar-man taking the field: the one and only Zack Greinke.
After years of searching for an ace, the Diamondbacks finally got their man, plucking away the most coveted free agent on the market.
Just about every D-Backs fan was pumped for this game, and its the media’s job to run with that hype and analyze it from every angle. But apparently Hale didn’t get the memo, and essentially blamed the media for hyping up “one game” to much.
“You guys built it up really good, did a nice job of it. I said it before the game, I said you guys [the media] really hyped it up and every Opening Day is every Opening Day — it means no more than tomorrow’s game,” Hale said. “So, are we happy that we lost? No, we’re disappointed that we lost. But it’s just one of 162 and the goal is always to win the series, so tomorrow is a pivotal game. If we don’t win tomorrow then we can’t win the series.”
He should know that with more expectation to win now and hype, comes more media attention. The skipper needs to get used to it because it will continue all season.
Hale is right in one respect in one respect: the media does read to much into one game instead of looking at the reality of what happened. The Rockies took advantage of a heavy dose of pitches in the middle of the zone and hit Greinke hard. Blaming the media for doing their job is going to far and could easily backfire. Hale himself was hyping up the game before it started.
Takeaway #2: Zack Greinke Will Get Back to Dominating In Due Time
By all standards, Zack Greinke’s Diamondbacks debut was a complete disaster. It was hard to watch, and it wasn’t what anyone expected.
When you look at his pitching performance alone, its easy to see why he struggled. He had a bad first day and he will win a lot of baseball games for the Diamondbacks because he is smart and he knows how to pitch. Earlier today, Christopher Gaine talked about the last time the D-backs ace allowed seven or more runs proving how out of the ordinary yesterdays performance was.
Pitch F/X, the advanced stats, and the tale of the tape revealed the same story-line: Greinke simply didn’t have it.
Looking at Whiff/Swing% (The percentage of total swings a batter misses on), his fastball generated a 5.3 percent rate, only 10 percent on his changeup, 6.7 percent on his slider, and 12.5 percent on his curveball. All of those whiff rates last night were lower than his career norms according to Brooks Baseball– including nearly 14 percent below on his slider. If you compare yesterday’s outing to previous years, his release point max speed, his horizontal movement, and his velocity was all down expect for his curveball.
Combine lower-than-average velocity with how many pitches he left middle middle and middle in to both right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters, than you understand why he got hit hard by a lineup that is one of the best in baseball and takes advantage of mistakes.
Takeaway #3: Not All of the Frustration Is On Greinke
Despite Greinke’s pour outing that seemingly put his team out early, not all of the blame can be taken out on him.
Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and he left two runners on base. Welington Castillo went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a walk after a great spring.
As a team, the D-backs left ten runners on base and went 2-for-10 with RISP. They had plenty of chances to tie or take the lead, but they left to many fish on the pond.
Making his major-league debut out of the bullpen, right-hander Silvino Bracho surrendered a three-run homer to Arenado that essentially put the game away.
Takeaway #4: Silver Linings
Losing on Opening Night with your new ace is never fun but there were positives to take away especially regarding the offense.
It was nice to see the Diamondbacks hitters battle all night long almost coming all the way back. Jake Lamb had a nice approach, going 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. If he can continue this, he will start everyday no matter who is on the mound: something you couldn’t say last season.