KANSAS CITY, Mo. Tonight features the last start of the season and a Wild Card tune-up for Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. Manager Torey Lovullo has not officially named him as the starter, said that he will be on a pitch count of 80-85 pitches.
Greinke (17-7) went four-plus innings, allowing two runs on four hits, two walks and 4 strikeouts on 75 pitches. Clearly, this was not the best outing for him, but remember this was just to get work in. He is being considered to pitch in the Wild Card game against either the Rockies or Brewers on Wednesday at Chase Field.
With the loss tonight, Greinke remains winless (0-1) in four career starts against the Royals, the team that drafted him and pitched for from 2004-2010. Kansas City remains the only team that he has yet to record a win against.
Lovullo talked about his starter’s outing. “I thought he had a pretty good outing. He was starting to sharpen up certain pitches and he felt very good. We just wanted to get him between 70-75 pitches. I think it worked out really really well overall. Give up two in almost five innings of work against a team that can swing the bat pretty good. I think it was a good outing.”
For the Royals (79-81) Ian Kennedy (5-13) pitched five innings allowing just one run on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts on 86 pitches.
Kansas City’s offense was led by Whit Merrifield (2-for-4), who blasted a solo home run, his 19th of the season, in the third inning off Arizona’s Greinke. That was the 25th home run surrendered in 2017, one shy of a career mark of 26 hit set as a rookie in 2004.
The Diamondbacks (92-68) Jake Lamb was the only offense on the night. In the second inning, he smashed a solo home run, his 30th of the season, tying his teammate Paul Goldschmidt.
For Lamb that is a new career high passing the 29, he hit last season. He has now hit a home run in two consecutive games for the seventh time in his career and fourth time this season. “I think it’s a great time for him. He’s been working hard for that moment. Hit his 30th home run today. It’s quite an accomplishment. The swings have been pretty consistent. He’s starting to really zone in on the ball and drive the ball. It’s translating. I’m just happy the timing is coming together right now,” said Lovullo.
A.J. Pollock chipped in with two hits, going 2-for-3 with a walk on the night.
Patrick Corbin saw action as indicated by Lovullo. He pitched 2.2 innings, allowing two hits, two walks and two strikeouts on 41 pitches. “Lovullo praised his performance. “He did a great job out of the bullpen.”
Lovullo was quick to say that Corbin’s role is not defined to the pen. “We’re not dumping him into the bullpen. He’s not going to be coming out of the bullpen. He’s still one of the five starters and we’re walking through a whole bunch of different scenarios. We just wanted to get him some work today.”
Mike Minor pitched a scoreless ninth for the Royals to earn his fifth save of the season. All of his saves have come in his last five outings. He has recorded 16 strikeouts during that span and has a total of 87 for the year. Second most by a left-handed reliever, trailing only Tim Collins (93) in 2012.
Next up is game two of the Series with Taijuan Walker (9-9) for the Diamondbacks and Jake Junis (8-3) for the Royals. First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 pm MST.