The Arizona Diamondbacks are back home to take on Former Ace Zack Greinke and the Kansas City Royals
First off, just want to say how much I know the desert full of Diamondbacks fans deeply miss you, Zack Greinke! I'm hopeful that Greinke will choose the desert as his place to represent when he eventually gets put into the Hall of Fame, but I have a feeling his many years out in KC will make it hard to not choose them. Of course, knowing how Greinke is, he very might be one of the first players to enter the Hall and choose not to represent a team. I do wish that the DH had been delayed a year so that Zack would get the chance to do something he is terrific at and loves to do, hit. At least he will go down in history as the likely last starting pitcher to ever get a base hit in baseball history when the SP isn't also the team's DH like with Ohtani.
Funny enough, Zack Greinke faced the Diamondbacks last year in Houston as a member of the Astros and faced Zac Gallen. Now, he will face another Diamondbacks pitcher with the name of "Zac/k/h" in the form of Zach Davies.
Greinke was beloved for his awkward yet authentic playing style and personality. No one could ever say they didn’t look forward to more sound bites from him. Zack’s a one-of-a-kind player and person. His actions are louder than his words. If only we had more Greinke’s in the MLB world or with the Diamondbacks.
While I still remember the heart-crushing and disparate news from that fateful 2019 Trade Deadline Deal that sent 4 players to the Diamondbacks in return for Greinke to the Astros, I am glad that Greinke got to experience 3 years of playoff runs and 2 World Series appearances. I personally think both teams won that trade, even though I wish we could've gotten those 4 players for free in my own dream world.
The Diamondbacks are coming off a 4-game series out in Chicago in which they took 3 of 4 from the Cubs. This is impressive as the Diamondbacks made multiple come-from-behind efforts and were in place to sweep the series before an 8th-inning HR explosion by the Cubs. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals are coming to Phoenix after finishing a home series versus the 1st-place Twins. The Royals blew a 6-run lead Sunday and failed to avoid being swept.
The Diamondbacks are 14-13 historically versus the Royals in their franchise history. The Dbacks have only gone 2-7 at home versus KC while averaging 3.8 runs scored and allowing 7.8 runs scored. The opposite is true when facing KC away. They are 12-6 against the Royals in Kansas City. This is the Royals' first time to Chase Field since 2014. Overall, the Royals are in last place in the AL Central with a 14-26 record which is 10.5 games back of 1st. They have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games while being outscored by a margin of 56 runs. The Dbacks are in 4th place in perhaps the most difficult division in baseball history, the NL West. They have a 21-22 record while sitting 7.5 games back and having gone 3-7 in their last 10 but did go 5-4 in their last homestand. They have been outscored by 22 runs on the season. The team is still much better than KC according to the stats and records.
Monday, 5/23/2022, Royals @Diamondbacks 6:40 PM AZ Time,
Zack Greinke vs Zach Davies
Greinke is having yet another terrific season, despite being at the age of 38 and playing for the Royals who seem to be unable to get him a win. Over his 8 starts, he has pitched into the 5th inning or beyond every time while only once allowing more than 3 runs. He consistently gives the Royals a chance to win, but their offense has failed him. I'm sorry Zack, but can the Dbacks get another win here? I promise I will root for you to win out the rest of the season.
Greinke has pitched 44 innings over his 8 starts with a 0-2 record, 3.48 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and a 112 ERA+. Those are outstanding numbers for Greinke, especially when you consider he's not throwing pitches often in the '90s anymore and has only 18 Ks in those innings. We are truly watching a modern-day Greg Maddux. Greinke can be hit as evidenced by the 49 hits, but he doesn't give up runs and has only walked FOUR BATTERS! That's just insane! His control is better than it has been in years.
Of course, not many Diamondbacks have faced Zack since 2019 as he's been playing in the AL West with the Astros until this year when he joined the Royals. Due to that, the at-bats are limited as only Peralta has more at-bats than 5 against him. Peralta only has 1 hit in his 10 at-bats. Pavin Smith has a HR as his lone hit in 4 at-bats while Josh Rojas and Daulton Varsho each have a hit in 5 and 4 at-bats respectively. Christian Walker has proven to be a thorn in his side as he's 3 for 4 against Greinke.
What about the other Zach in the battle of the Zack/hs? Davies is having another solid but unspectacular season. He does what he does well and that is to eat innings, keep the game close enough to win, and be a solid #4/5 starter. He's doing that well this year. He's 2-2 in his 8 starts with 39.1 innings pitched, 15 walks, 30 Ks, and a 4.35 ERA to a 4.04 FIP, and a 92 ERA+ (100 is league average). He has encountered some difficulty over his last two starts against the Dodgers and Cubs. He went 1-1 but only threw for 9.2 innings while giving up 8 runs, 2 walks, 11 hits, and striking out 8. We will need those runs to be much less against the Royals.
Due to the Royals being mostly a young team and Davies pitching in the NL Central for most of his career, their batters aren't very experienced against him. Carlos Santana is 0-for-3, Whit Merrifield is 0-for-6, and Andrew Benintendi is 2-for-3 with an HR. The other batters are either hitless or haven't faced Zach yet. It should be a good game in which we can see a lot of batters' face opposing pitchers and teams for the first time. Again though, I wish I was going to Monday's game.
Monday, 5/23/2022, Royals @Diamondbacks 6:40 PM AZ Time,
Jonathan Heasley vs Zac Gallen
Jonathan Heasley is a rookie pitcher who has made over 5 starts over the past 2 seasons with the Royals. He's only made 2 starts this year in which he's gone 0-2 with a 4.32 ERA, 5.50 FIP, and a 94 ERA+ while allowing 8 hits, 4 ERs, and an eye-popping 7 walks, and only 2 Ks. He will have to avoid the walks in order to get a win. Since he's so new to the MLB, no Diamondbacks batters have had an at-bat against him.
Zac Gallen is having a Cy Young-worthy season so far leading the MLB in ERA (1.14) while going 3-0 over 39.1 innings over his 7 starts. He's struck out 39, walked 8, allowed an insane 5 runs, and only 20 hits. He has been absolutely dominant as evidenced by a terrific 2.44 FIP, a crazy-high 350 ERA+, and a supreme 0.712 WHIP. He's almost set a career-high in WAR already with 1.8. Like with Heasley, Gallen has yet to face anyone on the Royals roster so far in his young career. This will be a fun test for Gallen against the young up-start Royals' offense.
The Diamondbacks and Royals series is a short 2-game series before the teams have Wednesday off. This series is only 2 games so that the Dbacks can travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals in another 2-game series. Here's hoping that the Arizona Diamondbacks can win another series and sweep the Royals. Afterall, they have won 4 of their last 6 series.