Zack Greinke looked like $147 million well spent during his first start with the Dodgers last night, striking out six, walking none and allowing just two hits as L.A. shut out the Pirates 3-0. Greinke struggled with an elbow injury during spring training, but he showed superb command against the Bucs. Just ask manager Don Mattingly:
"I think it's rare to have that kind of touch with his breaking stuff. He was pretty amazing, really," Mattingly said. "He was like Felix [Hernandez]. I've seen both those guys pitch when they were 19, and both of them had great command early and great touch with their off-speed stuff early, and you don't see that."
Greinke avoided the fat part of the plate last night, throwing just 17 of his 92 pitches (18.5%) to the horizontal middle of the strike zone. For comparison's sake, the MLB average for starters is about 24%. The Dodgers' free agent prize confounded the Pirates by playing keep-away. Check out his pitch location last night:
Greinke's pitch location vs. Pirates left-handed hitters
Greinke's pitch location vs. Pirates right-handed hitters
Greinke threw 63% of his pitches to the outer third of the plate against Pittsburgh, and Pirates batters went 2-for-14 with four strikeouts against those offerings. Playing keep-away is nothing new for Greinke, though. He has thrown the second-highest percentage of outside pitches among starters since the beginning of the 2012 season:
Highest percentage of outside pitches among starters, 2012-13
He's got 118 strikeouts on pitches thrown away from 2012-13, a tally topped only by Justin Verlander Yovani Gallardo and Max Scherzer among starters.
Most strikeouts on pitches thrown away, 2012-13
Looks like the elbow's just fine, thanks.