No offseason move, the KC Royals have probably pleased fans more, and done more to ease the pain of the three-month lockdown, than bringing Zack Greinke back. The club signed their former Cy Young winner shortly after the owners and union reached a new working agreement in March.
The meeting with Greinke signaled the club’s willingness to spend at least some money to land a star free agent, suggested a commitment to winning more games now, not later, and sparked new excitement about ‘a KC rotation that hasn’t accomplished much since the magic seasons. from 2014 and 2015.
So far this season, Greinke, 38 and a pitcher in his 19th major league season, has done everything the Royals wanted and expected him to do…maybe more.
Going into today’s doubleheader in Baltimore, Greinke, who is scheduled to start in Game 1, boasts an excellent 2.57 ERA. He’s only walked three batters and his WHIP is an excellent .964. He pitched five or more innings in each of five starts.
But still, the right-hander whose 219 career wins make him a legitimate Hall of Fame contender is yet to win a game this season. He’s 0-2, an odd record for a pitcher with such great numbers.
The reason is no mystery.
The KC Royals give Zack Greinke pathetic running support every time he throws.
Kansas City’s offensive weakness is obvious, well documented, and a heavy burden on the club.
And deep when Greinke throws. The Royals scored enough points to win just once in his five starts, with that feat alone after leaving the game on the opening day – he had given up just one point and the score was tied at 1 -1 when manager Mike Matheny fired him with two outs in the sixth. KC scored twice in the eighth to win 3-1, but Greinke did not feature in the decision.
The Royals lost their next start a week later, but Greinke left with the score tied in sixth after allowing Detroit just two runs. Jake Brentz gave the Tigers two runs in the seventh, enough to take them to a 4-2 win.
Greinke pitched his next outing superbly, limiting Minnesota to one run in five innings. His departure came with the Royals trailing 1-0, and that’s how the game ended. Once again, his teammates’ bats were incredibly quiet. Greinke took the loss.
Hard times struck again on his next start. He allowed three runs in six innings; the game was tied 3-3 when the bullpen took over to start the seventh inning. But uncharacteristically, he gave up four runs, handing the Royals a 7-3 loss.
Greinke pitched last Monday and lost 1-0 to St. Louis.
The picture is clear. Kansas City doesn’t hit when Greinke throws. The Royals’ team batting average in its games is .151, a clip of 67 points below their .218 season average, an ungainly mark that ties them with Houston for second-worst in the American League.
The club are averaging 1.6 runs per game from Greinke and have averaged 1.2 runs on points they have left these contests.
Greinke is doing his part. The time has come for his teammates to make theirs.
Give him a run, please.
The first pitch in today’s Twinbill opener is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. CDT, with Greinke taking on Baltimore’s Jordan Lyles (2-2). The second game will begin shortly after the first ending; Daniel Lynch (2-1) is expected to face Bruce Zimmerman (1-1). The series ends with Monday’s contest at 11:05 a.m. CDT.