Forget Dice-K, it was all about Grein-ke yesterday at... the K.
Greinke went seven innings, struck out seven and allowed just one earned run. Yes, there was a random start last year in September, but this was the full return. Stepping back on the mound in a strangely dramatic early-April showdown against the Red Sox.
It wasn't just about the backstory (so crudely handled by Simmons today, by the way) but also about one of the most intriguing young pitchers in baseball returning to everyday Major League duty. The Royals still haven't really developed a good major league pitcher since... who? Do you count MacDougal? Forget getting rid of Berroa or the Sweeney drama or the outfield logjam, or the Meche contract. Outside of Alex Gordon, the most important piece of the Royals future is Greinke.
According to today's Sam Mellinger piece in the Star, he was regularly in the low to mid-90s. Predictably, the pyschology majors of the world were quick to put Greinke on the couch.
Get ready for a year of this folks. Remember that intensity is good when its mid-July and Bell tells the media that the Royals are "pressing" or "trying too hard". For now, intensity is good.
I'm excited about the strikeouts more than anything else. Theres a spectrum of performance for guys cut in this cloth -- control, flyball pitchers, moderate jump on the fastball -- that begins with Bobby Keppel and ends at Greg Maddox, with Jimmy Key and Brad Radke somewhere in the upper middle. With a better defense behind him and a slight uptick in his K-rate, Greinke has a shot to return to the high-rent district.
Greinke, Rounds One and Two
2004- K/9: 6.21, K/BB: 3.85, G/F: .81, ERA: 3.97
2005- K/9: 5.61. K/BB: 2.15. G/F: 1.02 ERA: 5.80
Despite the loss, it was a very good day at the K. And as much as I hate to say it, with a few reversed calls, the Royals might have won that game, or at least made Matsuzaka leave with a no decision.