Thomas Wolfe was a dumb-dumb. You can go home again. And when you do, you start scoring more runs and getting quality starts right away. But before we get too carried away at the prospect of consecutive wins - uninterrupted by either one (1) or multiple (2 or more) losses - the Reds face a test tonight against former Cy Young winner Zach Greinke. The Reds saw Greinke last season when the Royals came to town in June and he carved them up, throwing a complete game and notching a season-high 12 Ks (though he did give up 2 home runs). Edgar Renteria and Scott Rolen are the only Reds to have faced Greinke more than 10 times. Rolen has reached base in 35% of his 19 plate appearances.
In a frightening possibility for the NL Central, Zack Greinke is capable of pitching just as well as he did in 2009. This might be seem like an outrageous claim about a pitcher who returned from the DL 5 starts a go and presently has a 5.79 ERA. But Greinke is currently putting up 13K per BB. Due to an inflated HR/FB rate and BABIP (his FIP is 2.78 and xFIP a microscopic 1.61.), his and the Brewers' ability to prevent runs from scoring while he's on the mound has made him look like a late-April Travis Wood.
Noisy as it may be, Greinke's HR rate is one opening the Reds have against the 27-year-old starter. Greinke's fastball velocity is noticeably below where it was at its peak in 2010, topping out around 95 in his 5 starts vs. high 90s mid-way through 2010. Reds' hitters should get some pitches they can drive. Votto took Greinke deep twice last season and hitters have ben doing it 1.6x every 9 innings so far in 2011. Greinke can serve up pitches that look like artisanal meatballs, but are actually rancid entrails. Batters are currently swinging and missing at 70% of Greinke's pitches in the zone. Along with all the whiffing, there are some mistake pitches in that are begging to become GABP specials.
Tonight is also a Battle of the Similar-Looking names, though Chad Reinke's last name is actually be pronounced "Mid-priced yacht." Why would a team with supposed pitching depth would ever have to reach beyond the 40-man to add a journeyman starter to their rotation? I guess you haven't watched Edinson Volquez pitch recently. After Homer, Dontrelle, Maloney and LeCure went down, the Miami U grad got the call. His last appearance in the bigs came in 2009 with the Oakland A's. Reinke has shown improvement across the Pacific Coast and International Leagues since his '09 cup of coffee. Here's hoping the Pride of Defiance, OH, meets the apprehension with the spirit of his hometown's namesake.
|2011 - Chad Reineke||29||Louisville||.714||2.52||9||53.2||50||15||3||16||31||1.230||8.4||0.5||2.7||5.2||1.94|
|2011 - Zack Greinke||3-1||5||5||0||0||0||0||28.0||29||19||18||5||3||39||5.79||1.14|