After the weirdness of last night's loss, the Royals look to return to their winning ways against the Diamondbacks tonight. J.P. Howell (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his major league debut tonight against Brad Halsey (4-3, 3.48 ERA), a Yankee castoff who, like teammate Javier Vasquez, surely looks like a pitcher the Yankees could use.
Howell, drafted by the Royals in last season's draft, appears to be a standard-issue college pitcher; middling stuff mixed with an advanced knowledge of the strike zone, working hitters, etc etc. While its good to see a draft pick already ready to help the big club, I'm not entirely sold on the point of bringing Howell up so early... Ohh well, we'll see, but considering the Royals might actually need these young pitchers around in three seasons or so, lets hope they can be afforded after becoming arb-eligible essentially a year earlier.
As for last night's game, what can you really say. Greinke managed to hit a homer, but his inability to finish off hitters is problematic against a decent lineup/home park combo like the one he faced last night. Zack remains committed to throwing strikes, and walks have never been a problem, but perhaps some occassional wildness (or feigned wildness) would help keep hitters off balance. The season ERA's now at 6.01, and I wouldn't be adverse to seeing Zack hit the DL with some minor injury, or even making a couple starts in the minors to re-tweak things. Look, the kid was born in 1983 people, and he's a pitcher, so theres no reason to rush things here.
Of course, I spent the last month of last season asking that Greinke be shut down early, since there was absolutely nothing to be gained by his final 5-8 starts. The Royals have -- knock on wood -- so far done an admirable job keeping his workload down, but he's now been a rotation regular for 1.5 seasons, and I think the innings (if not the pitches) are starting to pile up.