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.
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
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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