Scouts descended upon Minute Maid Park today to observe a couple of pitchers that are reportedly on the trade block, Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke and Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Much to the chagrin of many of those scouts in attendance Greinke was ejected from the game in the first inning, having thrown only four pitches.
Greinke took exception to a call by 1B umpire Sam Holbrook and spiked the ball in frustration. Greinke must have also muttered something nasty to Holbrook because Sam was pretty quick to give him the thumb. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was also tossed for continuing to argue the call (and undoubtedly telling Holbrook what an idiot he was for throwing Greinke out of the game.)
With Greinke out of the picture Wandy Rodriguez took center stage. Wandy seized the moment, sailing into the sixth inning with a shutout. Rodriguez would have escaped the sixth with the shutout intact if not for some less than stellar defense by Scott Moore. The Astros third-baseman made a pair of errors in the frame, resulting in two unearned runs and an early exit for Wandy.
Rodriguez ended up with 5 & 1/3 innings pitched, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out five. It was the 47th consecutive start of five innings or more for Wandy, the third longest active streak in the big leagues.
Wandy played the role of team ace today, improving to 7-6 with the win and stopping the Astros nine-game losing streak.
Earlier today Jon Morosi tweeted that the Toronto Blue Jays were one of the teams showing an interest in Rodriguez. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reported that the Orioles were looking at both Greinke and Rodriguez, among others, to bolster their starting rotation. The Orioles have stayed in the race in the tough A.L. East despite having the league’s third highest ERA (4.73) among starters. Upgrading the rotation is a definite priority for Baltimore G.M. Dan Duquette as Orioles starters have a combined record of 28-32.