For the 18th consecutive time last night, Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher Zack Greinke went at least five innings and allowed two runs or less. The result? Another win to improve to 5-0 on the season.
A streak over a span of two seasons thus far is becoming more impressive each start and displays just how much Greinke is worth in terms of a consistent starter. Since signing a long-term deal with the Dodgers, the right-hander has been nothing short of dominant, finishing 15-4 last season and beginning 2014 undefeated thus far, despite missing time in the spring due to a calf strain.
According to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times, Greinke’s ability has impressed Rick Honeycutt, the Dodgers pitching coach:
He commands all of his pitches. Feels comfortable throwing probably any pitch at any time, which not everybody can do,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “He does what all successful guys do. For the most part, he pitches ahead and he’s got put-away pitches when he needs them.
“What I’ve been most impressed with is it seems like, if the situation gets deeper, it’s almost like the better pitches he makes. And that’s the difference, I think, in the better guys.”
With Greinke, Honeycutt has half of what is considered the best duo at the top of any rotation in baseball. Once Clayton Kershaw returns from injury, the two will become a force that not many teams will be able to score against.
Along with Honeycutt, Greinke has also left an impression on Drew Butera, who has become a sort of personal catcher for the right-hander:
When push comes to shove, he has an extra level,” Butera said.
Greinke has been far from perfect in spite of his 5-0 record, reaching high pitch counts early in games and making it past the sixth inning just once this season; however, he has escaped most of the jams unscathed and continues to give the team a chance to win.
As the season marches along and the stakes become higher, expect Greinke to become that much sharper and remain successful because of the aforementioned intangibles.
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