Houston Astros pitcher, Zack Greinke, has played like a legend so far in the 2021 World Series. Read on for more!
You might have heard of him—the quiet off-field personality and long blonde hair with large on-field results. Zack Greinke, by virtue of being a 219-game winner throughout his career has quietly snuck his way into baseball folklore.
The Orlando native has amassed 18 seasons of action and a top-80 ranking all-time in total regular season wins in MLB history. The only active major-league pitcher ahead of him in wins is one Justin Verlander.
Just how good has Greinke been for the Houston Astros during the 2021 World Series? Let’s take a look at five key stats.
1) Greinke ranks fourth on Astros in World Series innings pitched
Through the first five games of the World Series, Greinke ranks fourth in innings pitched on the Astros’ roster. While four innings might not seem like a lot, no Astros pitcher has contributed more than six innings of work at this point in the Series.
Greinke, the oldest pitcher on Houston’s World Series roster, has proven to be a workhorse easing the burden on his teammates’ arms—a key contribution that positively affects the pitching staff’s health throughout the remainder of the ’21 Fall Classic.
2) Greinke, one of only two Astros with perfect ’21 World Series ERA’s
Through at least four innings of World Series work, Greinke remains one of two Astros that has maintained a perfect 0.00 earned run average.
Only right-handed reliever, Phil Maton—who came up huge in helping the Astros stave off elimination in game five of the Series—has pitched more innings than Greinke while also holding a perfect ERA.
3) Greinke ranks seventh on Astros in ’21 World Series hit production
Outside of the stellar pitching contribution, Greinke currently ranks seventh on the Astros in World Series hit production.
The 38-year-old pitcher’s two hits tie him with Alex Bregman through the first five games of ’21 World Series. And though Greinke has only received three at-bats, he leads all Astros with a .667 World Series batting average.
4) Greinke holds an impressive career World Series ERA
Through eight seasons of postseason appearances, Greinke has pitched in two World Series, both for the Astros. Through three career World Series starts, Greinke holds a dazzling 1.85 ERA, while only walking five of 59 batters faced.
Greinke just might be identifiable now as a big-game postseason pitcher that never got recognized because of multiple missed opportunities to make the playoffs, or to advance deeper toward the World Series earlier in his career.
Former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow’s 2019 acquisition of Greinke just might pan out to show a clutch veteran pitcher with nerves of steel on the biggest stage.
5) Greinke might have even better pitching numbers if not pulled early
In Greinke’s start in game four against the Braves, the six-time All-Star pitched four scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Arguably, if Astros manager, Dusty Baker, kept Greinke in to pitch, the veteran right-hander could have continued deeper into the contest and possibly preserved the lead had the Astros not decided to go to the bullpen so early in a game where the Braves ultimately edged out the Astros, 3-2.
But—to Baker’s credit—during game five of the ’21 World Series, the veteran manager did bring in Greinke as a pinch hitter in an elimination game.
To put this bold move into context, Baker, a manager twelfth all-time in total regular season wins in MLB history, brazenly brought in Greinke as a pinch hitter on a night the Astros’ season could have ended—with no actual intention to pitch the right-hander—and Greinke came through with a base hit.
To put this move into context, with Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers, Jr., unavailable to pitch for Houston, Baker’s insertion of Greinke into the lineup not only helped get a pinch hitter on base, but ever so sagely catalyzed the Astros’ dugout, lighting a fire of motivation within the struggling offense.
I interpreted this move by Baker to communicate, If the pitcher can do it, you guys can, too. Come on, let’s go. I believe in you. Such an action arguably boosted team morale and clearly established Greinke as a team leader by example.
What’s ahead for Greinke
Greinke, referring to the ’19 Astros World Series squad that lost a heartbreaker in game-seven to the Washington Nationals was quoted as saying, “This may be the best team I’ve ever played on.”
But now, Greinke might be reconsidering his sentiment. After all, he so far has appeared the X-factor in the ’21 World Series that just might bring the Astros to the promised land.
With two games of an uphill climb left to go to win the World Series against a dangerous Braves roster, Greinke still has something left to say about what this chance to be a world champion means to him. Stay tuned—he’s got something to say and he’s not done speaking yet.