October 15, 2011
Remember when Zack Greinke(notes) hurt himself at the start of spring training playing in a pickup basketball game? Well, his bouncy reaction to a key moment in Game 5 of the NLCS on Friday night reminded me of the inauspicious start to his career with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The St. Louis Cardinals already led 1-0 in the in the second inning when pitcher Jaime Garcia(notes) slapped a grounder right through the legs of third baseman Jerry Hairston for a two-run error. Worse (aesthetically), Greinke improperly made himself cut-off man on the throw home (which didn't even matter, because Hairston had interfered with baserunner Yadier Molina(notes), who was awarded home).
Finally, he couldn't even bounce the ball in frustration without it humorously hitting him in the chest. Perhaps he was lucky it didn't hit him in the face. (Pete Rose was a much better dribbler, albeit on artificial turf.)
Poor defense hurt the Brewers all night, but Greinke also should be concerned that his pitches aren't moving as they should; he finished with no strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings and, of 89 pitches thrown, he got the Cardinals two swing and miss only twice. Whatever his deal, Greinke will have all offseason to work it out (and work on his jumper) if the Brewers don't come back to win Games 6 and 7 at Milwaukee.