Zack Greinke, a right-hander for the Arizona Diamondbacks, issued three walks in the sixth inning, and that led to his demise
When this undistinguished season began, Greinke was considered a savior. With lofty expectations and a sense of carrying this team into the light, Greinke assumed the role of titular head, and prepared to guide the Arizona Diamondbacks forward.
Now the hope remaining, here in the final weeks of the season, is that Greinke could regain some of his charm and production from previous years. Clearly, it’s not the intention of manager Chip Hale, nor other decision-makers, to allow Greinke the humiliation of struggling through the final days of this season.
Through this humbling baseball campaign, Greinke has proved to be a mere mortal. Joining the rest of the staff, he remained guilty of an essentially malady. That’s walking hitters at inopportune times, and also delivering the dreaded home run at any time.
Perhaps as a redemption to the forgettable season, Greinke took it upon himself to try and be perfect on Sunday. In the end, his pitches in a lethal sixth inning proved another difference in a season forecast with hope and now laden with despair.
That combination led to Greinke’s demise Sunday afternoon in Chase Field. After giving up a home run to Denard Span to open the game, Greinke then walked the bases loaded in the sixth. That lead to two runs in the critical inning, and the San Francisco Giants eventually defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-3 before 26,008 in Chase Field.
In walking the bases in the sixth, both Greinke and manager Chip Hale agreed that the right-hander was trying to be too fine and too perfect. The result was missing on pitches Greinke normally connects with the plate.
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“I was missing with pitches, and that was frustrating,” Greinke said. “I guess I was trying to make the perfect pitch and missed. Just not executing.”
After giving up the lead-off homer to Span, Greinke saw no similarity with the way this one started and the five homers he surrendered during his last start against the Dodgers.
“I felt good, but in that first inning, I had too much of the plate,” he said. “The following four innings were good.”
Hale was in concert, and explained three walks from Greinke in one inning was uncharacteristic.
“(Greinke) did a nice job early, but the walks hurt,” Hale said. “He tried to be too fine, and tried to make the perfect pitch. He was not hitting the corners.”
With one out in the sixth, Angel Pagan drew a walk on a 10-pitch at-bat. That started the merry-go-round, and Grenike then issued free passes to Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence. Brandon Belt followed with an RBI single, and Crawford then scored when Joe Panik grounded out to first.
With the win, the Giants swept the weekend series, and procured 13 of 19 from the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. That included taking nine of the 10 games played in Chase Field.
By winning Sunday, the Giants closed within three games in the National league West Division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. In sweeping the Diamondbacks, the Giants were able to defeat a team which they should handle and continue to contend for division honors.
The loss also extended the current Diamondbacks’ losing streak to six straight, and Arizona has now lost eight of their last 10 games. This leaves the Diamondbacks with a home mark of 25-46, and only the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins have worse home records.
If Greinke faltered in the sixth, the Arizona bats could not pick up their starter. Giants’ starter Matt Moore picked up his third win in his last four starts and fanned 11 batters, a season high. As a team against San Francisco pitchers, the Diamondbacks struck out 15 times in this one.
Still, there was an opportunity tie. In both the eighth and ninth, the Diamondbacks had the tying run at the plate. With one on in the eighth, Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury each fanned with a runner on first.
In the ninth, Socrates Brito lead off with a double, but Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland then retired the final three in order to record his third save of the season.
The Colorado Rockies move into the Chase field for a three-game series. On Monday night, it’s righty Shelby Miller (2-11, 6.89 ERA) facing lefty Tyler Anderson (5-5, 3.35). On Tuesday night, look for lefty Robbie Ray (7-13, 4.46) against lefty Jorge De La Rosa (8-7, 5.00). In the series finale Wednesday night, righty Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 4.17) goes against right-hander Jeff Hoffman (0-3, 5.60).
Then, the Los Angeles Dodgers complete the current home stand with a four-game series, and that begins Thursday night.