Diamondbacks News

Arizona Diamondbacks: Jhoulys Chacin outduels Zack Greinke in San Diego

By Joseph Jacquez
Apr 15, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) in the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) in the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Arizona Diamondbacks offense could not support right-hander Zack Greinke

The bar was set high for Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he delivered. Unfortunately, one bad pitch cost him and the Diamondbacks a win in San Diego.

Greinke kept the rotation on a roll. The righty allowed one run on five hits over eight innings. But, San Diego Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin one-upped the Diamondbacks ace. The former Diamondback tossed eight shutout innings and surrendered just three hits.

Chacin threw 32 sinkers and 27 four-seam fastballs. The Venezuela native threw 38 curveballs, the most he has thrown in any start this season. The three-pitch mix kept Arizona hitters off balance. Chacin recorded eight groundouts against just two flyouts and averaged 13 pitches per inning.

Greinke recorded his 16th career complete game and second as a Diamondback. Last season, he lasted nine innings in a 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Chase Field on June 7.

One mistake often decides a pitchers duel. That was the case for Greinke. With one out and nobody on, Padres shortstop (or pitcher) Eric Aybar launched a hanging 3-2 slider over the right-field fence.

That at-bat could have ended earlier. After Aybar fouled off an 83.6 mph slider to keep the count 1-2, Greinke’s personal catcher Jeff Mathis called for a two-seam fastball. The pitch just missed the strike zone. However, only 36-percent of umpires usually call that a ball.

After the game, Greinke spoke with MLB.com about the pitch.

The two-hour, 13-minute contest was the shortest nine-inning game for Arizona since Sept. 9, 2013.

Greinke and zone rate

Zone rate, a stat from Baseball Prospectus, measures “the percentage of pitches seen or thrown in the strike zone.”

Before his outing against the Padres, Greinke’s zone rate sat at 40.3 percent. Last season, 44.8 percent of the righties pitches were seen or thrown in the zone. Opposing hitters also chased fewer pitches outside of the strike-zone compared to last year.

Greinke threw a high percentage of his offerings in the strike-zone. Better command forced Padre hitters to protect with two strikes, and Greinke induced more swings and misses.

All of these factors allowed Greinke to efficiently navigate eight innings. The 33-year-old needed just 96 pitches, the eighth-fewest by a Diamondbacks starter who worked eight or more innings. Greinke retired 13 of the first 14 batters with four or fewer pitches.

Missed Opportunity

A runner never reached second base against Chacin, but the Diamondbacks missed a huge opportunity in the ninth.

A.J. Pollock started the inning with a leadoff single off Padres closer Brandon Maurer. Paul Goldschmidt moved Pollock to third with two outs, but Maurer ended the game with a strikeout of Jake Lamb.

The Diamondbacks .336 average with RISP leads the majors, but they failed to come through. The offense has scored one run in Greinke’s last two starts.

Post Game Grades

D. Something is not right with Paul Goldschmidt. It appears the Diamondbacks first baseman is missing hittable fastballs because he simply does not see enough strikes. Even with Jake Lamb in the cleanup spot, Goldschmidt has walked 14 times. That is the second-highest total in the National League. “America’s First Baseman” is just 4-for-29 with one RBI on the current road trip.. 1B. Arizona Diamondbacks. PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT

1B-3B. Arizona Diamondbacks. INFIELD DEFENSE . F. The Diamondbacks are 10-6, but an alarming number of errors will catch up to this team. Jake Lamb’s second error of the season allowed Chacin to reach base in the sixth. Greinke pitched around the mistake. The Diamondbacks have committed the most errors in the National League (15).

The Diamondbacks go for the series win a team 6:10 p.m. on Thursday night. Look for left-hander Patrick Corbin to face fellow southpaw Clayton Richard.

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