Remember when we all used to be excited for a Greinke day? Good times.
Tonight I have no idea what to expect from Zack Greinke (5.66 ERA, 2.95 FIP). His numbers would suggest he's been pretty unlucky in 2011 (.341 BABIP, 15.4% HR/FB, 2.16 xFIP), but it seems like some of that could be explained by the fact that it seems like every ball hit off of him is getting hit hard. Even with one really good start against the Rays in there, he's posted a 7.97 ERA over his last four appearances. Against the Twins on Sunday he allowed five runs on five hits and two walks over six innings, striking out nine and giving up two home runs.
Greinke is throwing his slider over 20% of the time this season, up from 15.5% last season, and FanGraphs would suggest that's been a good decision: It's been his best pitch at +1.62 runs per 100. His changeup has also been good at +0.92, while his fastball and curve have both been below average.
Greinke did reasonably well against the Reds on May 31, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings with three walks and six strikeouts. Three Reds have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Mike Leake (4.03 ERA, 3.76 FIP), who has been a model of consistency lately. Since returning to the Reds rotation on May 27 he's made eight starts, pitched at least six innings in all of them and posted a 2.89 ERA, striking out 34 and walking just ten in 53 innings. He last pitched against the Indians on Sunday, and allowed four runs on four hits over six innings in a 7-5 Reds win.
Leake's control appears to be significantly better this season than it was in his major league debut last year. His walks are down (from 3.19 to 2.32 per nine) and his strikeouts are up (from 5.92 to 6.65). This year he's primarily throwing a high 80's cutter (34.7% of the time), but also throws a fair number of fastballs, sliders and changeups to go with the occasional curve. The slider has been his best pitch this season, at +1.98 runs per 100.
This is Leake's third outing against the Brewers this season. Here are the previous two:
|April 26||Brewers win, 3-2||7||7||2||2||0||6|
|June 1||Reds win, 4-3||6||7||3||3||0||3|
No Brewers have faced Leake ten times or more, but Ryan Braun (1-for-6), Prince Fielder (2-for-6) and Rickie Weeks (3-for-6) have all homered off of him. Nyjer Morgan is 4-for-8 with two doubles, a triple and an HBP.
Here's tonight's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Corey Hart RF
Prince Fielder 1B
Mat Gamel 3B
Mark Kotsay LF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Zack Greinke P
Here's the bullpen situation:
John Axford pitched 1 inning (21 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (21 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Wednesday.
Takashi Saito pitched 1 inning (9 pitches) last night.
Zach Braddock and Marco Estrada last pitched on Tuesday.
Kameron Loe hasn't pitched since Monday.