Dodgers Reds Game 4: You Only Get 9 More Zack Greinke Starts

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Boy, this season has been fun, Zack Greinke has allowed a runner to cross home plate 28 times, and 5 of those (17.9%) came in a single start inside hell (Coors Field) which brings his seasonal ERA to 1.59, or a 43 ERA-. I wrote earlier this week that Greinke is a humongous favorite to win his 2nd Cy Young which means that he’s the favorite to join Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gaylord Perry and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers to win the most esteemed pitcher’s award in both leagues and that probably means enormous things for his chances at Cooperstown.

Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) in the first inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The season has been nothing short of magnificent, and with a good start, Greinke will pitch his way past Max Scherzer for 2nd place in the fWAR standings so the FIP based argument against him is slowly dwindling, Zack is projected to make 9 more starts if all goes well [DISTINGUISHABLE KNOCKS ON WOOD HEARD IN THE DISTANCE], so cherish every one of them.

This is the lineup he’ll face today

Filled with… a few surprises, Brandon Phillips and his .328 OBP leads off, Eugenio Suarez somehow has a 123 wRC+ which is one of the best offensive marks for a SS in baseball, the middle of the order is solid, Joey Votto is an all world hitter, Todd Frazier isn’t far behind, and Jay Bruce is one of the more offensively solid outfielders in the game, but boy Tucker Barnhard, Desclafani, and Billy Hamilton, he of the .229/.274/.294 triple slash line, which borders on impressive. That slash line is threatening to become the 8th triple slash line this century in which a player’s batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage were all below .300, his company would be 2007 Nick Punto, 2015 Omar Infante, 2003 Ramon Santiago, 2013 Adeiny Hechavarria, 2008 Michael Bourn, 2010 Cesar Izturis, and 2013 Alcides Escobar, so good luck Billy.

You’ll note that none of these players are “Anthony DeSclafani“, and actually the dude at the end has posted a 9.10 ERA in the Mexican League, so the team is clearly bereft of talent, but back to DeSclafani, he’s been a pretty solid starter this season, putting up a 3.75 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 22 starts. He’s a pretty hard thrower  from the right side and he came into the season as the Reds 4th starter, but now he’s the defacto ace in the rotation. Despite being the most (only?) consistent presence in this Reds rotation, his platoon splits this season are pretty noticeable, as he’s allowed lefty bats to hit .258/.348/.445 off of him this season and that’s actually an improvement over last year.

The one improvement Hernandez can make is his line versus right handers, as of right now his floor appears to be a lefty mashing super utility infielder that plays anywhere, his value versus RHP’s will probably set his status as a long term regular. He only has a 97 wRC+ versus same handed pitching in his career, and while that is probably enough to start him everyday Kiké’s value would skyrocket if he could bring his wRC+ to the 105-110 range. This looks to be the optimal lineup at this point if you just resign yourself to Jimmy Rollins, leadoff hitter. It does feature 7th hitter, Yasmani Grandal with his 146 wRC+, so the lineup is pretty good at offense.

The Dodgers in their past 10 games have scored 52 runs so the one problem in this 5-5 game stretch they find themselves in has been the pitching, and you’ve got to feel good about any game started by Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw nowadays, the problem is finding consistency behind those guys, but 2015 might be the peak of dominance for these two pitchers (simultaneously) and that gives them a chance in any series that they pitch in.

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