Wake Up Mr. Greinke

July 7th, 2011

I never ever wanted to write a negative word about Zack Greinke and hoped that time would never come, but unfortunately it has. Let's do it.

BREWERS STARTERS WITH ERA OVER 5.50 (Last 5 years)

  • Manny Parra 6.36 (2009)
  • David Bush 6.38 (2009)
  • Zack Greinke 5.66 (2011)

That's it. That's the whole list.

Now I know what you're thinking "Jesus, 2009 sucked" and my god did it ever. Hopefully you're also thinking "WTF IS ZACK GREINKE DOING THERE!?" 2009 was awful, but I would argue that 2011 could end up being a whole lot worse if Zack Greinke doesn't get his act together. He doesn't belong on this list, but that's how he has played thus far this season and he has sucked.

"but.. but.. he's had terrible luck! His xFIP proves it!"

"And he's winning games! He's 7-3!"

"Look at his BABIP, it's really high it will even out over time! And his LOB% is low!"

Shut up. Stop making excuses for him and shut up. You sound like an abused girlfriend who won't stop insisting that your boyfriend, Green Bay Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood, is really a good guy once you get to know him. Zack Greinke has been a huge disappointment, a much bigger disappointment than Casey McGehee, and it's time everyone admitted it.

Zack Greinke has amazing stuff which he has shown throughout the season. He has three seperate 10-strikeout games which is awesome, but still his ERA sits at a level higher than even Jeff Suppan ever achieved. So what gives?

Basically, Zack Greinke loses his damn mind when runners get on base, loses it a litle bit more when they get into scoring position and then he gives up three run homeruns.

Dig a little bit deeper and you'll find that Zack Greinke is getting hit. Hard. While Zack's high batting average on balls in play and low left on base percentage might explain some of his struggles they don't explain the fact that his line drive percentage is way up and a higher percentage of his flyballs are leaving the park. Advanced stats can attempt to explain away why he's been struggling, but this isn't a case of too many bloop singles falling in and skewering things. This is a case of Zack Greinke being hit hard.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of baseball can clearly see that Zack struggles the most when there are runners on. Now whether this has to do with him simply not being a good pitcher in the stretch, a lack of concentration, bad luck or something else I couldn't tell you. What I can tell you is it doesn't always look like he cares and coming from a guy who admitted to lack of effort in the past, that's a problem.

I hate to comment on what people "look" like they are doing. JD Drew has been hated his entire career because he didn't "look" like he cared, but one look at his career numbers and you wish you had a guy like him on your team. Meanwhile, a guy like Craig Counsell definitely "looks" like he cares but that doesn't make up for his lack of talent. I think that whatever it "looks" like a player has very little correlation to what a player is actually doing. So please understand that I hate that accusation when I say that it doesn't look like Zack Greinke is giving it his all.

Have you ever watched Randy Wolf pitch? Like, really watched him? Every single pitch is life and death to him. Every close call on the corner of the strike zone kills him. His life exists only for that moment. Compare that to Zack Greinke who looks fine until that moment when you can practically see the light bulb turn on in his head and he takes it to that whole other level where nobody can hope to hit him. It's those few beautiful moments that drive me crazy. I've seen what Zack Greinke could be, I've seen what he could do for the Brewers and it's fantastic. So why doesn't he do it all the time?

Zack Greinke is an amazing pitcher with amazing stuff so maybe every pitch doesn't have to be life and death to him. I realize that he can't get everyone out every time, but it'd be nice if he tried to. Did he try to get every single batter out the season he won the Cy Young? I'm not asking for that season again because that was a once-in-a-lifetime type of season that will likely never happen again in Zack's career (and people should remember that), but it'd be nice to see him flip that switch during the first pitch of the game instead of the 80th.

To quote Hoosiers "If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners."

Vince Morales is the guy who runs this site. He likes the Milwaukee Brewers, pro wrestling and beer. If he offended you he is very, very sorry.

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11 comments on “Wake Up Mr. Greinke

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Oh Drunk, as much as I agree with you and enjoy reading your articles on this blog, I wish you wouldn’t post things like this. I understand it is venting and I doubt that the chance of Zach Greinke actually seeing this article is very slim, but the last thing we need is people hating on a guy that we are going need if we ever want to win the division. I don’t see him getting his ERA below 4 this season, but I do think we have seen the worst of Greinke, and lets face it he was pretty bad the last time out.

    • Miller Park Drunk on said:

      I don’t hate Zack and I think that if we are going to win the division it’s going to be because he pitches better. If he doesn’t, they won’t.

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Great article mpd. I have now concluded my sheer willpower cannot make him pitch well as I want him to succeed so badly. He needs to step up his game.

    Also, one thing you didn’t mention is that he takes fielding errors extremely poorly. Seems like he couldn’t recover from TP’s error in the first against the Yankees as the latest example.

  3. Anonymous on said:

    Dude had a broken rib and he was pitching in the majors within 2 months. I had two broken ribs in February and I’m not pitching in the majors yet.

    • Miller Park Drunk on said:

      Is this an excuse? There are no excuses here. Funny how his ribs only seem to bother him when there are runners on base.

      • Anonymous on said:

        I think it’s only right to draw a parallel between Grinke’s ribs with RISP and Brett Farve’s injuries when the other team is winning.

        Wisconsin should be use to it, draw the parallel, sit back, relax, and wait for disappointment.

        If anything else happens, be excited – and enjoy a Harvey Wall Banger.

  4. Anonymous on said:

    I hate the excuse line, but he does have a history with anxiety disorders, and honestly that’s what I come back to everytime he struggles with the pressure is on. Morgan misses an easy play that continues an inning?

    Bam, Greinke tanks.

    When runners reach due to bad luck, we see Grienke get hit hard, making his mistakes more costly, 2 and 3 run homers vs one runs.

    I’m not saying it’s all due to the anxiety disorder, and I’m sure if it is they’re working on it now as they we’re before, but it’s kinda fun (in a “poor me” way) to be like “hey we have this awesome pitcher who throws amazing as long as nothing goes wrong and the offense gives him a lead if he does slip a bit”

  5. Anonymous on said:

    I love how Greinke attacks hitters, compared to Gallardo who fluctuates between going right after guys early in the count, and then grooving a 2-0 fastball that ends up in the seats.

    The problem in my eyes is that some of these hitters jump on Greinke’s fastball, which has decreased 2-3 MPH since his Cy Young year (whether that’s the rib injury or not, I don’t know) and they’re raking him all over the ballpark.

    I’m still not worried about Greinke yet, because I’ve seen what an elite pitcher can do to a contender in the second half of the season.

    Gallardo is almost as much of a disappointment to me as Greinke right now. He too has the stuff to be the ace of our staff but isn’t necessarily delivering on that front. I give Greinke credit, at least he is going right after hitters and trying to get them out, as opposed to Gallardo who will pussyfoot around on 0-2 counts and end up walking guys in the bottom of the order.

    Either Greinke’s year will turn around or it won’t, but I like the way he pitches. I don’t think he is holding anything back. Maybe he has lost a step in the past couple of years, maybe hitters have figured him out, and maybe the rib is still bothering him. Either way the 2009 season was totally worth sending our prospects to KC for getting him, I still don’t regret the trade. I knew it was a gamble when it occurred and I’m still not read to call it a lost bet.

  6. Anonymous on said:

    i think greinke has been poopyish and mpd is just posting what we’re all worrying about

  7. Anonymous on said:

    and “attacking” batters doesn’t mean throwing an 0-2 meatball down the middle….

  8. Anonymous on said:

    Does Greinke carry the rooster whenever he isn’t pitching? Cause that would be really cool. That would make me like him even more and that’s kinda hard to believe, cause I pretty much love him right now even with his huge era. I dont love him as mich as
    I was at yesterday’s game (hot dog bobble head sucks, and as you have mentioned previously, it is the whitest of the sausages) and I love this team. I love TP and Rickie!

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