Arizona Diamondbacks: Greinke demonstrates value as ‘stopper’

Zack Greinke is now 7-0 in July with a 0.93 ERA. (Rob Carr / Getty Images)
Zack Greinke is now 7-0 in July with a 0.93 ERA. (Rob Carr / Getty Images) /

Right-hander Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks has put up impressive numbers during July.

There is little argument that Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks is in the middle of a strong, come-back season. Not only has the former Cy Young Award winner picked up important wins, he has accumulated wins at important times.

In a victory just before the All-Star game, Greinke’s win over the Cincinnati Reds snapped a three-game losing. After beating the Colorado Rockies on July 1, that snapped another three-game losing streak. On Monday night, Greinke again prove his worth by helping the Diamondbacks break out of their latest funk.

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In defeating the Atlanta Braves 10-2 before 20,862 in Chase Field, Greinke demonstrated value in his club’s quest to forge toward a post-season position. In stopping the Braves on five hits and two runs in eight strong innings, Greinke was especially strong in hitting the strike zone early. He threw a first-pitch strike to eight of the first 10 Atlanta hitters, and for the game, Greinke tossed 106 pitches and 78 for strikes. That was only 28 pitches off the plate during a sold, efficient night.

Afterward, Greinke told Venom Strikes he was unusually canny in hitting the strike zone.

"“Yeah, I hit more strikes than usual,” he said. “Felt good, and my command was pretty good. By getting more strikes, I threw where I wanted.”"

Some recent numbers for Greinke.

To support the notion of “a stopper,” Greinke is 6-1 and a 2.63 ERA in eight starts that follow a loss. His 10 victories at home is the most in the majors, and he is 7-0, with a 0.93 ERA (70 strikes against eight walks) in his last nine starts in July.

To assist Greinke, the offense broke out with a three-run, second inning against Atlanta starter and loser R. A Dickey, and then capped the night when J. D. Martinez slammed a three-run bomb to dead center field in the sixth. That was his initial hit in Sedona Red, and Martinez took Atlanta reliever Matt Wisler deep against the batting eye in center.

For the ability to pile up 10 runs, that was only the second game since June 22 that Arizona put up 10 or more runs in one contest. In this one, the Diamondbacks went 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

While Martinez’s shot into orbit gathered attention, A. J. Pollock put together a productive 3-for-5 night and that included a two-run, two-out double in the second and his fifth homer, a two-run shot, in the seventh. After the game, Pollock told Venom Strikes there was no secret to the 10-run, 13-hit attack against five Atlanta pitchers.

"“Going 6-for-16 in those situations doesn’t always happen,” he said. “You want to go out and have quality at-bats. Guys on this team are capable of doing damage. We like to put pressure on the other team and take it from there.”"


The Braves series continues Tuesday night. That’s when righty Taijuan Walker (6-4, 3.61 ERA) returns from maternity leave and resumes his spot in the rotation. Righty Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 3.87) is his opponent.

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In the series and home stand finale Wednesday afternoon, lefty Patrick Corbin (7-9, 4.43) will start for Arizona. Originally, lefty Jamie Garcia was to start for the Braves, but he was dealt to the Minnesota Twins before Monday’s game and the Atlanta starter is to be determined.

Then, the Diamondbacks embark on a three-city, nine-game road trip with four in St. Louis, three against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and ending in San Francisco with three against the Giants.