Arizona Diamondbacks: Zack Greinke shows vulnerability in defeat

Zack Greinke dropped his initial game of the season Saturday in St. Louis, (Jennifer Steward - Getty Images)
Zack Greinke dropped his initial game of the season Saturday in St. Louis, (Jennifer Steward - Getty Images) /

Right-hander Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks absorbed his initial defeat of the season on Saturday.

Maybe, right-hander, Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondback is living on borrowed time. After solid back-to-back efforts to signal a return to the mound late last month, Greinke provided vulnerable in his second start of the season.

Then again, manager Torey Lovullo and others contend the 5-3 defeat to the Cardinals in St. Louis was merely an aberration in Greinke’s attempt to remain within the astrosphere of elite pitchers.

After appearing in one spring game until the next-to-last exhibition contest March 26 against Cleveland in Chase Field, Greinke seems to regain his touch of painting the corners with strikes. Then, he took the mound March 31 in his season debut and shut down the Colorado Rockies on one run, fanned nine batters and left with a no-decision.

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Since the start of spring training, the issue of velocity, or lack thereof, has haunted Greinke. For a starter in the majors which barely touches 90 miles-per-hour on his fastball, Greinke cannot afford to make any mistakes.

Against the Cardinals Saturday, the veteran admitted to a plethora of mistakes. That was in the inning when Greinke allowed four runs and suffered a collapse. The frame was highlighted by extra-base hits from Dexter Fowler (double) and a three-run homer off the bat of Jose Martinez.

"“Fowler had a good at-bat,” Greinke told “And 3-2, I threw a fastball and he got a hit. It was a good at-bat by him. He waited until I made a mistake. (Tommy) Pham, I made pretty good pitches to him, and he did a good job getting a hit. Then I started making some mistakes to the next three batters. (Matt) Carpenter, he lined out. (Marcel) Ozuna got a hit and then the Martinez home run. And then I started pitching good again. It was a bad three batters. It was an important three batters.”"

For the game, Greinke lasted six innings and allowed all five runs St. Louis runs. His production Saturday ballooned from allowing the Rockies just one run, a Charlie Blackmon homer, during his first start of the season. Always meticulous in his preparation and careful in his execution, Greinke is likely continuing to tread a fine line.

At this point, and with a marginal fastball, Greinke is likely to find ways to compensate for declining physical skills relative to his fastball and begin to find ways to stay equally effective.

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When Michael Wacha took the mound and opened Saturday’s game with the Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium, the air temp was 37 degrees. In the 20 years of the Diamondbacks, that equaled the coldest temp ever recorded in franchise history for a game. That was set on April 4, 2012, at Denver against the Rockies.

Arizona Diamondbacks Roster moves 

Before Saturday’s game, the Arizona Diamondbacks optioned right-hander Matt Koch to Triple-A Reno. After third baseman Jake Lamb was placed the 10-day disabled list last week, Koch was recalled to replace Lamb on the roster. With Koch’s departure, the Diamondbacks roster dropped to 24, and that’s with a transaction likely before Sunday’s finale in St. Louis.

Prior to the start of the current road trip to St. Louis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the Diamondbacks acquired right-hander Troy Scribner from the Angels, and Scribner was assigned to Triple-A Reno.

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To make room on the 40-man roster, the Arizona Diamondbacks designated outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker for assignment. The current Diamondbacks roster stands at 40 players.