Sunday, September 1, 2013
Greinke proving himself as four-tool pitcher
By Dan Arritt, Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- Five-tool players are a hot commodity in the major leagues. Zack Greinke is forming his own category. Call it a four-tool pitcher.
Greinke continued his masterful pitching this season with seven solid innings Sunday against the visiting San Diego Padres, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 2-1 victory and a series sweep.
Zack Greinke hasn't committed a fielding error in more than three years.
His contributions didn’t end there, however.
Greinke also continues to see the ball well at the plate and was one of the few Dodgers to hit San Diego starter Tyson Ross. He collected a solid single up the middle and flew out to deep left-center, boosting his batting average to .347.
And if that wasn’t enough, Greinke also stole second with a head-first slide in the fifth inning, becoming the first L.A. pitcher to steal two bases in a season since Orel Hershiser in 1987.
The fourth tool? Greinke hasn't committed a fielding error in more than three years.
Greinke, who has won his past six starts to improve to 14-3, certainly didn’t lead the Dodgers by himself Sunday.
Yasiel Puig blasted his 14th homer of the season to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth and Mark Ellis delivered a clutch two-out single in the third to tie the score.
Paco Rodriguez came out of the bullpen with the tying run on third and one out in the eighth and struck out leadoff hitter Will Venable before getting pinch hitter Chris Denorfia to ground out to the mound.
Those performances were magnified because the Dodgers had little luck solving Ross. Ten of their 15 outs off the right-hander came via strikeout, including all three in the second inning. Their only success against Ross came in the third, when Carl Crawford laced a two-out double just inside the first-base line and Ellis lofted a 2-2 pitch into left field to tie the score.
Ross was finished after five innings, a career-high 10 strikeouts and 105 pitches. Puig stepped into the box off reliever Dale Thayer and belted the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center field for a 2-1 lead.