Zack Greinke probably should have thought this one through a bit more. The Houston Astros ace has shown an unprecedented level of transparency on the mound this year, cutting out the middle man by calling his own pitches. Remarkably, Greinke’s bold gambit has largely paid off—the right-hander pitched to a respectable 4.03 ERA across 67 regular-season innings—but not Thursday.
In a scoreless game at Dodger Stadium (oh, the irony), the 36-year-old signaled for a slider with two on and one out in the second inning. Not fooled in the slightest, potty-mouthed A’s slugger Ramon Laureano wasted no time bashing Greinke’s 3-0 offering to high heaven.
Greinke’s ambitious stunt may have worked in the regular season, but tempting fate in a playoff setting against Laureano, who has always had his number (6-for-10 lifetime with two homers, two doubles, a triple and five RBI), was apparently a bridge too far. It’s been a struggle for Greinke thus far in Game 4 of the ALDS, though the six-time All-Star gets props for gutting it out, pitching through an arm injury that some feared would shelve him for the rest of the 2020 playoffs. With Gerrit Cole in pinstripes and reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander recovering from recent Tommy John surgery, the Astros can ill-afford to lose Greinke, especially at this late juncture.