Greinke hopes 'breaks' continue | MLB.com: News
By **** Kaegel / MLB.com
04/29/09 12:55 AM ET
KANSAS CITY -- This is how it is when you've pitched darn-near perfect baseball for four games and you get immortalized with a Sports Illustrated cover. You get about 15 reporters and cameramen clustered around you in the clubhouse. This is Kansas City, for Pete's sake, not New York or Boston.
Zack Greinke was the subject of the media blitz because he was poised for his fifth start of the season on Wednesday night against the Blue Jays. In case you haven't heard, Greinke has a 4-0 record, a 0.00 ERA and is "The Best Pitcher in Baseball," according to SI.
Could be, but he seemed just like the same old Zack as he gamely put up with the questions and the glaring lights. He talked about his enormously successful season so far.
"Mainly just mixing pitches up and throwing strikes," Greinke said. "That's about it. The first two games were a big struggle, just trying to get through 'em. Guys got on base early and I got out of a couple jams, and the last two games have been pretty smooth -- balls hit at people and hits being spread out through the innings."
The only run scored against him, by Detroit, was unearned by virtue of a throwing error. (Shortstop Mike Aviles was unlucky enough to nail a sliding runner at third base.) So Greinke hasn't given up an earned run in his last 43 innings going back to last year.
"I'm not really doing anything special, mainly just getting lucky early on," Greinke said. "I'm pitching pretty good, but even when you're pitching pretty good, teams find a way to score a run here and there. I'm mainly just getting some breaks."
Manager Trey Hillman is getting some good starting pitching this season -- 12 quality starts and a Major League-best ERA of 3.17 entering Monday -- and Greinke, of course, has been the biggest part of that.
"He's a great pitcher, and hopefully, he can just come close once every five days to do what he's done so far -- and that's asking a lot, even if he comes close," Hillman said.
"And he's human. He's probably going to have some days where he's not locating as well as he has in the first four starts. But the thing that helps him is the second gear that he has in being able to reach back against difficult hitters in tough situations."
In the past, Greinke has not fared very well against the Blue Jays. He's 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA in seven games against them. Lyle Overbay has been a real pain -- 5-for-10, with all five hits (including a homer) coming in the last six times he's faced Greinke.
KC: RHP Zack Greinke (4-0, 0.00 ERA)
Greinke had his string of scoreless innings snapped at 38 last Friday night against the Tigers, but it was an unearned run and that was virtually the only flaw in his performance. It was his second straight game in which he went the distance and also struck out 10, giving him 36 K's in just 29 innings. He threw just 108 pitches, disposing of the Tigers in a swift 2:06. Greinke stuck primarily with his fastball for the first five innings but, over the last four, had all of his pitches working. He issued just one walk, after having none in his previous 2-0 win at Texas.
TOR: LHP Brian Tallet (1-0, 2.95 ERA)
On Friday night, Tallet handcuffed the White Sox for 5 2/3 innings, blanking Chicago over that span en route to his first win as a starter since 2002. The left-hander finished with five strikeouts, three walks and four hits allowed in the victory. Tallet, who moved out of the bullpen and into the rotation to fill in for injured starter Jesse Litsch, has yielded only one run over 11 innings across two starts. In his career against the Royals, Tallet is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in six games.
Miguel Olivo, who has caught Greinke in all four starts this year and has caught all three team shutouts, has a 2.86 catcher's ERA. ... Luke Hochevar is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA after pitching Triple-A Omaha over Oklahoma City, 8-1. In six innings, Hochevar struck out seven, gave up four hits and one unearned run. ... Col. Thomas Weafer, director of the Command and General Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat on Tuesday night. He will retire this summer after 32 years of active duty in the Army.