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Preview, #94: 7/14 @ Cardinals

Ah, there’s Greinke. I’d been wondering...

MLB: JUL 02 Diamondbacks at Dodgers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Tim Locastro - LF Matt Carpenter - 3B
Ketel Marte - CF Yairo Munoz - SS
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Tyler O'Neill - LF
Adam Jones - RF Dexter Fowler - RF
Alex Avila - C Kolten Wong - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Andrew Knizner - C
Ildemaro Vargas - 2B Harrison Bader - CF
Zack Greinke - RHP Adam Wainwright - RHP

Well, this series is indeed giving us the Wainwright vs. Greinke match-up that we expected. It’s just the final game of the series rather than the opening one as I expected. But for whatever reason, both staff veterans ended up pitching on Sunday rather than Friday. In the case of Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals the professed explanation was back spasms. Though it’s kinda weird these flared up for the pitcher when he wasn’t actually pitching. His last start was all the way back on July 3rd, and in that he threw over a hundred pitches, without any apparent issue. One wonders if this was more of an excuse, and was actually a reaction to the D-backs holding Greinke back until Sunday?

On Zack Greinke’s side, it seems a little odd: he has a reputation of liking to pitch on a regular rotation where possible. If he’d gone on Friday, it would have been seven days since his last outing. Now it’s nine. Maybe it was a result of the “personal reasons” which caused Zack to skip the All-Star Game festivities, with the team giving him a couple more days to handle things? Has he been visible in the dugout this series? [I was at the pub for Friday’s game and didn’t watch yesterday’s, so couldn’t tell you] However, over his career, he seems to pitch better after more time off. On four days’ rest i.e. regular, Greinke’s ERA is 3.45. On five, that drops to 3.26, and more than that, it’s 3.12. So maybe this is tactical too?

We’ll see. Certainly, Greinke seems to be aging a little better than Wainwright. The St. Louis pitcher is two years older, but even in his age 35 campaign, the same as Zack’s current age, Wainwright has a 5.11 ERA (though still managed to go 12-5). He only made eight starts last season, and this year is 5-7 with a 4.31 ERA (ERA+ of 98). He’s now at least relatively cheap, having seen an incentive-laden contract last winter, worth only $2 million guaranteed, compared to the $19 million he got in 2018. But Wainwright has more than matched that in bonuses already ($2.5 million), and if he remains in the rotation the rest of the way, he’ll get another $5.5 million, making $10m in total. An interesting financial approach by St. Louis.