The man who gave Royals fans a legitimate reason to need to watch Royals games at least once a week for the first and arguably only time since The Strike will toe the rubber wearing a uniform that looks eerily similar to the one he wore in Kansas City. Of course, this time around he gets to face Royals hitters rather than have them do the disservice of "supporting" him.
There are a lot of similarities between Greinke circa 2009 and now. The K% and BB% are virtually identical, as are the xFIP and SIERA. He has upped the GB% while slashing the FB% to compensate for the defensive weaknesses of his team. The key difference is the frequency of HR allowed, which is much more in line with his career numbers, not with his 2009 season. Even then, his 2.57 ERA implies that he's been pitching well.
Though the run-environment is different, not much has changed about the Royals' offense. They're actually worse in relation to the rest of the American League in terms of home runs, ranking last in 2014 versus second-to-last in 2009. As that is the one part of Greinke's game that is different from 2009, it's hard to imagine them capitalizing on his mistakes, even in the Dale Sveum Era. They rank near the middle in runs scored, but they're still scoring about the same amount of runs per game (4.17 now compared to 4.23 then). Shockingly, their OBP is still terrible.
The Royals will face the prodigal son in the throes of a four-game losing streak. The sweet taste of a ten-game winning streak and a wild two days in first place is but a distant memory. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer both re-became Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer over the weekend. Their dalliance with winning is so far in the rearview that it's reduced to a sexy little memory that should be in the spot they're looking at but won't take form, causing one to wonder if it was just a tawdry little dream--a figment of an overactive and sex-starved imagination.
Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for the Royals. It's safe to say he's unlikely to wash away the pain of not having Greinke around anymore.
This game will be a WAR, and the Dodgers have a Puig.
This one's for you, Zack.