2020 keeps getting weirder. Case in point:
I can’t keep track of the Astros anymore. One day they’re stealing signs, the next they’re giving them away on purpose. Zack Greinke made the unusual choice Wednesday to intentionally tip pitches and, even more bizarrely, he got away with it.
Despite showing the Giants all his cards, the former Cy Young winner still limited San Francisco to a single run over 6 1/3 innings in the Astros’ 5-1 victory at Minute Maid Park in Houston. At one point in the seventh inning, an unfazed Greinke didn’t even bother to throw up a sign, instead calling the pitch out loud to catcher Martin Maldonado. In case you’re wondering the outcome of that at-bat, Maurico Dubon harmlessly flew out to center field, again failing to take advantage of Greinke’s inexplicable generosity.
You’re probably wondering (as am I) what exactly Greinke hopes to accomplish with this unprecedented level of transparency. Is the guilt from Houston’s cheating scandal eating at Greinke so much that he feels the need to literally help his own opponents to make amends? Or is he trying to get inside hitters’ heads with a little reverse psychology?
Apparently, neither. The reason the 36-year-old has resorted to calling his own shots is far less sexy than the theories posited by yours truly. Apprehensive with runners on base, Greinke has opted to cut out the middle man, taking on sign-calling responsibilities in an effort to move the game along.
"I don’t like taking a long time with a man on second base especially,” Greinke told beat writer Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. “I’m trying to find a way to speed that up.” Per McTaggart, Greinke employed the same technique Friday in the Astros’ extra-innings loss to Oakland. The veteran fired six clean sheets in that one.
I guess you could call Greinke the anti-Chris Sale, who famously never shakes off his catcher. Whatever Greinke’s doing right now seems to be working as the right-hander has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak opening month for Houston, compiling a superb 2.53 ERA in four outings for the reigning AL Champs.