How Good Has Zack Greinke Been During His Scoreless Streak?
Zack Greinke may not be a Dodger after this season, if he chooses to opt out of his contract, as most expect he will. But if this is his last go-round with L.A., he's making it a historic one. After shutting out the Washington Nationals over eight innings on Sunday, giving up just three hits and one walk while striking out 11, the right-hander extended his scoreless innings streak this year to 43.2.
No team has scored a run off Greinke in his last six starts. The last time he was scored upon was on June 13, against the Padres.
That was over a month ago. In 19 starts this season, he's allowed 19 earned runs. And that 43.2 scoreless innings streak? It's pretty good (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference).
Greinke is just 1 2/3 innings away from tying Bob Gibson for the third-longest scoreless streak of all-time. And if he does, that would put three Dodgers pitchers at the top of this list. He's still 10 1/3 innings behind Drysdale and 11 1/3 behind Hershiser, so there is work to do. But this isn't the first time Greinke has gone on a run like this. At the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 with Kansas City, Greinke put up 34 scoreless innings over five starts, 14th most all-time.
However, if you want to get all "technical" about all this, Greinke has been scored upon during this stretch.
There was that little incident where Mike Trout hit a lead-off home run against Greinke in the very first at-bat of the All-Star Game. But even though "that game counted," the homer didn't.
What's making this streak all the more remarkable is that he has as many strikeouts as anyone on this list and fewer walks. He has struck out 27.6% of batters faced and walked 2.6%. Opponents are hitting .129 against him and make no mistake, there is a little luck involved there, with a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) by his opponents of .181. There have been no home runs.
Part of that may also be because his stuff has revved up considerably. According to Brooks Baseball, Greinke is throwing his fastball 93.02 miles per hour in July. In May, it was averaging 91.55 miles per hour. That's a mile and a half difference. And it's the same thing with his changeup, throwing it at 89.65 miles per hour in July as opposed to 88.04 in May. When you combine his pinpoint control and ability to stay out of the middle of the plate, it all makes him virtually unhittable.
And over his last six starts, it certainly has made him unscoreable.
So what are the chances he can pull this thing off and reach 55 1/3 scoreless innings, besting Hershiser? Not bad.
His next opponent is the New York Mets, who just may have the worst offense in baseball right now. Their team batting average is an NL-worst .234 for the season and a meager .218 over the last 30 days. Their weighted on base average (wOBA) is tied for last at .291. And their 317 runs scored is the fewest in the league.
After that, if the Dodgers choose to pitch him on his regularly scheduled fifth day, he would face the Oakland A's with a chance to break the record. With two off-days next week, they could push him back a day or two, which would put him up against the Los Angeles Angels at the end of next week. The Angels are fifth in the American League in runs scored while the Athletics are 11th.
The Mets and the A's offer to reasonable chances to continue the streak, and put yet another Dodger atop the record books.