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Brushing Up On Zach Greinke

Ah, finally, a plus fastball.  It's probably the pitcher in me, but the guys who can really bring it are the ones I like watching best.  Greinke is one of those, with a fastball that he comfortably throws early in the count around 93-94.  Against RHB, he does fairly well.  It looks like "good" is less than a .250 ISO, but that's not exhaustive or anything, it's what I've noticed from doing like 15 of these or whatever the number is.  Anyway, it's an above average pitch that he has plus command of.  He misses the zone just 32% of the time, well below the 36% average.  In addition, with two strikes, he ramps it up to 95-96 and can get whiffs at about twice his average rate for all counts.  Being able to add and subtract, get key misses and throw strikes is about all you're looking for when it comes to the fastball. 

The curve is rarely used, but he likes to throw it early in the count, probably after fastballs to get a quick strike.  He has solid control, particularly for a curve. It isn't a swing-and-miss pitch, but he throws it rarely enough and early enough in the count that he can get poor contact. It is definitely not an out pitch, as he prefers the slider in 1-2, 0-2 counts, as well as the aforementioned fastball, elevated preferably.  The curve has a ton of horizontal movement, which makes me guess it's a bit slurvy rather than a true curve.  It also indicates that he throws from a lower arm slot, so lefties should have an easier time seeing the fastball.  The ISO backs this up (.317) and the BP card indicates he has a bigger split than average.

The slider is tough to get a grip on, as he gets more whiffs from lefties than righties, though when he's ahead, it's an effective out pitch for either.  He's not a huge strikeout pitcher, but the slider-fastball combo is about as good as Danks' curve-change routine, as they both get in the vicinity of 20% K/PA.  Even when he's not getting strike outs, he's still able to get effective results because his offspeed pitches all have relatively low ISO scores.  He may not yet (or perhaps ever) be an ace, but he's a very solid #2 along the lines of Johnny Danks.

AJ, Swish and Thome will be key tonight, as how they do against the slider and, certainly, the change will be important.  Again, like Danks, he goes away with the change up once ahead in the count and uses it to get those reaching, defensive swings that lead to double plays all the time for Johnny.  Danks' is better, but Greinke's is certainly effective and his slider is apparently quite the wipeout against lefties.

All in all, it looks like a tough matchup.  Mistakes will be more difficult to take advantage of because the stuff is there and he's got control that's as good as Bannister's.  Take away those grooved fastballs to Q last night and we don't score too many runs.  Fortunately, we should still have the same bullpen advantage we've had the past couple days (though less so than normal since they've certainly been taxed lately).  Hopefully Buehrle continues to have "too much good stuff" and it won't be ncessary.  Either way, I see a pitching duel ahead.  On a slight tangent: I know he wasn't great last night, but I'm DeJesus loses the platoon advantage he's had all series.  That makes me happy.  He's the one guy that really concerns me and his CF play has been great so far.  OMG LET'S TRADE HIM FOR THOME AND THEN SWISH CAN PLAY FIRST!!!

deep breaths...



Sorry, channeled my inner kwon for a second there. Okay, let's get the sweep, get our road record a little nearer .500, push the Twinkies back another half game and make sure the Tigers don't get any funny ideas.