Astros Report Card: Grading the starting pitchers of 2019

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HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 03: (L-R) Wade Miley #20 of the Houston Astros, Joe Smith #38, Gerrit Cole #45 and Justin Verlander #35 chat during batting practice before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on August 03, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 03: (L-R) Wade Miley #20 of the Houston Astros, Joe Smith #38, Gerrit Cole #45 and Justin Verlander #35 chat during batting practice before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on August 03, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Zack Greinke - The new Astro
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – SEPTEMBER 14: Starting pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Houston Astros heads to the bullpen to begin his warmup at Kauffman Stadium before the game against his former team, the Kansas City Royals on September 14, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by John Sleezer/Getty Images) /

Zack Greinke:  B+

As they’ve done in the past, the front office pulled off another late-summer trade to bring in a top-tier pitcher. Zack Greinke, a pitcher that would be the ace on most teams, came to Houston to serve as the third starter behind Verlander and Cole.

The 36-year-old seasoned veteran arrived from Arizona by way of a last-minute trade just beating the deadline. Greinke did exactly what was asked of him, win games. He’s not the flashy type of pitcher that will dazzle you with strikeouts like Cole or show his emotions on the mound like Verlander, he just quietly gets the job done.

Many people misunderstood Greinke when he first arrived, especially after that first press conference introducing him to the local media and the fans. He looked awkward behind the mike and gave terse one-sentence answers to the reporters’ questions. People got the feeling he didn’t want to be here or that he had no passion for the game. Once the local fanbase learned he has battled anxiety and depression issues for years, they understood and accepted his demeanor.

But none of that matters once he’s on the mound. There is a job at hand and he takes care of business. Greinke appeared in 10 games at the end of the regular season with the Astros and went 8-1 in those games. He had an ERA of 3.02 and a respectable 1.069 WHIP. His ERA+ was right up there with the best at 154.

He not only excels with his pitching arm, but the six-time All-Star’s bat and glove come in quite handy at times. This season he won his sixth straight Gold Glove Award and his second Silver Slugger Award.

Greinke may not like the limelight or feel comfortable during interviews, but his arm, bat and glove do all the talking for him. He’s under contract through the 2021 season, along with Verlander. So even if Cole and the Astros can’t work out a deal, Houston will still have a nice one-two punch in their starting lineup for a couple of years to come.

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