It could be reasonably assumed part of why Zack Greinke got such a massive contract included him being an very good hitter. Since signing with the Dodgers, Greinke had never had a wRC+ below 50. That number may seem bad (unless you’re Jeff Mathis LOLOL), but NL pitchers routinely have wRC+ in the negatives, and so by default Greinke was already a solid hitter.
By those standards, Greinke has struggled and disappointed since coming to Arizona, with wRCs of 20 and 30 in 2016 and 2017 respectively. But, things have changed this year with Zack well on his way to having a career-best year at the plate. Of course, he’s also pitching better than ever, which is the main reason he’s on the team and gets paid millions of dollars.
The D-backs pounced early on rookie Trevor Richards, who was making his 10th start of the year. He’d been okay this season, with an ERA (4.91) 1 run higher than his FIP (3.96), but still showing enough promise to keep seeing the mound every 5th day.
Jon Jay started with a groundout, but the next three hitters reached safely, with Goldy and Lamb singling and Peralta walking to load the bases. Descalso grounded into a fielders choice, scoring Goldy and putting runners on the corners with 2 outs. Nick Ahmed doubled to left, scoring Lamb and giving the D-backs that quick 2-0 lead.
Derek Dietrich led off for the Marlins and was HBP, but Greinke made quick work of the next three hitters, getting a ground out, pop out and another grounder to end the inning.
Greinke helped himself in the 2nd, lacing a single to center with 1 out and stealing second to put a runner in scoring position with Goldy at the plate. He dumped a single of his own the left, scoring Greinke and making it 3-0 D-backs.
The Marlins made it interesting in their half of the 2nd, with JT Riddle and J.B. Shuck getting on base to put runners on the corners and only 1 out, but Greinke induced a double play ball to escape the inning unscathed.
Both offenses were quiet until the 6th, when the D-backs got a leadoff single from Nick Ahmed to start the inning. He moved to 2nd on a Dyson ground out, and scored when Zack Greinke again did work, singling to right to push the lead to 4-0 D-backs.
Greinke was good through his final 5 innings, and while he was perfect, he always escaped jams. The 3rd inning saw a runner on 3rd with 2 outs, the 4th a runner on 2nd with 2 outs, the 6th and 7th had a runner on 1st with less than 1 outs but each time Greinke was good enough to strand the runners. His final line was 7 IP, 7 hits and 6 K’s. His shutout streak reaches 13 innings.
The bullpen for the D-backs kept the shutout alive, with Jorge de la Rosa, Fernando Salas and Andrew Chafin combing for 2 innings of shutout baseball, albeit with a few baserunners allowed. All in all, the D-backs were the team we saw at the beginning of the year, winning games they should.
☆☆☆ - Zack Greinke (pitching) (7IP, 6Ks, 0ER) +31.3% WPA
☆☆ - Paul Goldschmidt (3 for 5, 1R, 1RBI) +12.9% WPA
☆ - Nick Ahmed (2 for 4 1R, 1RBI) +9.6% WPA
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The early game was rough for most, as I’m pretty sure 99% of Arizona won’t realize the D-backs already won today. The road-trip is done and the D-backs come home after winning 8 of 10. Nice work boys. Come back tomorrow for the first of three against the Giants. First pitch is at a more normal time of 6:40pm.