Zack Greinke took the mound at Dodger Stadium on Monday night for the first time since signing a six-year, $206.5 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason. The homecoming was neither pleasant nor a predictable outcome.
The start on Labor Day marked the second time he faced the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. In the first outing, Greinke allowed two runs on seven hits, including one home run, and had six strikeouts to earn the win at Chase Field.
After throwing three shutout innings Monday night, Greinke allowed a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth, and came unglued in the fifth. “The fourth inning was still really good, the last one wasn’t as sharp,” Greinke said after allowing a career-worst five home runs.
The results were particularly atypical for Greinke when taking into account his line of success at Dodger Stadium. “I felt real comfortable out there, just not a good game,” he said.
Greinke was booed during pregame lineup introductions, prior to his first at-bat, and a final time when he Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale brought the hook in the fifth inning.
“I don’t really think about it anymore,” Greinke said of his return.
He was complimentary of Adrian Gonzalez pulling an up-and-in fastball down the line for a home run. But Greinke admonished himself for home runs allowed to Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal.
“I made a really bad pitch to Joc. Seager’s was OK, not like a perfect pitch, but it wasn’t the worst one. Joc’s was terrible,” Greinke said. “That was probably the worst pitch of the night.
“Grandal’s was all right. It was probably a strike. Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown that pitch but it wasn’t that terrible. Things were going bad and they were swinging good. Maybe if it was like they had one hit through that time, I probably would’ve got him out. But since they were swinging good and momentum was going their way, [Grandal] was able to hit it.”
Turner’s home run was a result of Greinke rearing back and hoping to avoid walking the Dodgers third baseman. “I’ve done it several hundred times. Three-two (count), down by six, so I wasn’t too worried about him getting a hit at the time,” Greinke explained.
“I was like, ‘Let’s see what he can do.’ He hit it really good.” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and multiple players attributed their success to a focused plan and capitalizing on mistakes Greinke made.
That wasn’t lost on the 32-year-old, who implied he understood the Dodgers’ game plan. “I think they had a good plan, stuck with it, and it just worked. Their guys executed their plan is what I think happened,” Greinke said.
But he refused to divulge what that may have entailed. “I don’t want to tell everyone in the world what their plan was. I think they had a plan, and I think it worked good for them. If that’s what they did.”