If a sharp, crisp Game 4 restored hope for Brewers fans in the NLCS, it's probably safe to say Game 5 put them back into a state of panic.
Many will point toward the team's four errors when talking about the Game 5 loss, but Zack Greinke wasn't very good, either. To his credit, he said as much after the game when he easily could have thrown Yuniesky Betancourt, Rickie Weeks, and Jerry Hairston (and maybe even Corey Hart) under the bus. Nobody would have blamed him.
Not only did Greinke fail to record a strikeout in 5.2 innings -- the longest he's ever made it into a game without notching a K -- but he only managed to get the Cardinals to swing-and-miss twice the entire game, and those didn't even come until the last couple innings he threw on Friday night. That's unusual for any pitcher that struck out 200 batters over the course of the regular season. For Greinke, who always managed to rack up the strikeout numbers even when he was struggling, it's even more unusual.
Only twice this year has Greinke generated less whiffs in a start. The first probably isn't that hard to guess: the disaster outing in the Bronx against the Yankees, when he failed to record a strikeout in a 2+ inning start. There wasn't a single Yankee that swung and missed against him in those 15 plate appearances.
The only other start in which Greinke had a harder time getting batters to chase? The season finale against Pittsburgh, when he threw 74 pitches on short rest and only one Buc whiffed. Greinke got the win in that start after allowing two runs on five hits, but he only struck out four. Like his Game 5 start, the results that weren't all that bad, but something wasn't quite right.
For whatever reason, Pittsburgh was a team that seemed to lock onto Greinke well this season. They roughed him up for 7 runs on August 22nd, and were able to chase him after just 5 innings on May 15 after batting around. St. Louis is another team that hasn't had much of a problem hitting Greinke.
In Game 1 of…Read more...