Adjustment pays off for Greinke
Posted on: June 13, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 5:06 pm
CINCINNATI -- At least one scout was in Cincinnati Sunday to see just what was wrong with the Royals' Zack Greinke. Whatever it was, that scout didn't see it, nor did the Reds.
The Royals scored their first run for Greinke in 22 innings in the first and added six more for a 7-3 victory. Greinke allowed five hits and struck out 12 in the complete-game performance.
The difference between Greinke's four-game slide (0-4, 7.97 ERA in his last four outings) and Sunday's victory over the National League's top offensive club may have been as small as a tenth of a second, manager Ned Yost noted.
Following last Tuesday's six-run outing in Minnesota, Greinke spent Wednesday in the Target Field video room with Royals pitching coach Bob McClure studying video.
"What they found was he was a tenth of a second to a tenth-and-a-half of a second, whatever that computes to be, quicker in the windup," Yost said. "What that does, it doesn't give him enough time to get back and fully loaded and in turn, his arm starts to drag. They increased his load, got his hands in a better position and the results were obvious today."
In his last outing, Greinke noticed two Twins, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, took good swings on his curveball -- "and it doesn't seem like they ever take good swings on curveballs" -- so he went back to look at the video of what he was doing on those pitches. Greinke and McClure watched where his hands were for those pitches and his glove hand was down low sometimes and up high sometimes, no matter the pitch.
"We noticed my glove was moving differently on certain pitches," Greinke said. "It would be random, but the guys were seeing how the glove was different. [McClure] looked at last year; I was always up last year and this year I've been down and up."
Sunday, he kept his glove up and sent the Reds down. Greinke allowed two runs in the first -- including a solo homer to Joey Votto, but then retired the next 11 batters he faced and didn't allow another run until Votto's solo homer in the ninth.
The first homer, Greinke noted, wasn't as much a physical mistake as a mental one: "I didn't want to throw Votto changeups going in, I threw him one and he hit it well, it was being stupid," Greinke said. Even then, the homer was one that would likely be an out in most parks around the majors.
Greinke's 12 strikeouts were a season-high and he struck out National League RBI leader Jonny Gomes three times.
It also helped that the Royals scored, touching Reds rookie Sam LeCure for four runs in 6.2 innings and adding three more to the Reds' brutal bullpen. The Royals hadn't scored a single run with Greinke on the mound since May 18.
"He pitched great today, he had a lot more break on his slider today and he was locating the ball today," said Billy Butler, who had four hits and four RBI, including his sixth home run of the season. "He had that confidence that he had last year today and hopefully he can build on that and hopefully we keep putting up seven runs for him."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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