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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Zack Greinke is pretty awesome these days

By David Schoenfield

Cole Hamels made his season debut for the Phillies on Wednesday night and while he pitched very well -- two runs in six innings -- the story was Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, who allowed two runs while striking out 11. That's 17 straight starts Greinke has allowed two earned runs or fewer, the most since 1900.

In fact, I'm not sure why the "earned runs" definition is applied there -- Greinke hasn't allowed more than two runs, earned or not, in any of those games. More impressively, he started three postseason games last year and allowed two runs in each of those, so we're really talking about 20 consecutive starts allowing two runs or fewer.

From ESPN Stats & Information, his MLB ranks since July 30:

Wins: 11 (tied for first)
ERA: 1.82 (fourth)
WHIP: 0.95 (third)
K/BB: 5.7 (fifth)
Chase pct.: 33.9 (third)

Including his three playoff starts, batters are hitting .204 against Greinke during this stretch, including .141 against his slider. Most impressive, however, may be his ability to rack up strikeouts with his fastball, a testament to the great movement he gets on it. He has 57 strikeouts and 10 walks in plate appearances ending in fastballs since July 30. Compare that to some other pitchers in that time (regular season only): Clayton Kershaw (21 strikeouts, 15 walks), Yu Darvish (31 and 24), Jose Fernandez (26 and 12), Stephen Strasburg (27 and 20), James Shields (29 and 28), Adam Wainwright (27 and 18), Justin Verlander (43 and 26).

Obviously, that list was chosen to make Greinke look good -- David Price is 61 and 9, for example -- but you get the point: Greinke doesn't use his fastball just to set up his other pitches. And considering he has that great slider, a plus curveball and a good changeup with command of all four pitches and you can see why Kershaw may be fighting for best-pitcher-on-his-own-team honors when he returns from the DL.

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