Greinke Debut All About the Offense

Zack Greinke picked up the win in his debut for the Astros - with a lot of help from the offense.
Zack Greinke picked up the win in his debut for the Astros - with a lot of help from the offense. Photo by Jack Gorman
Zack Greinke's debut as a Houston Astro didn't exactly go the way he wanted. But, he still managed to pick up the win thanks to an offensive explosion from one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball as the Astros downed the Rockies 11-6 in a game that looked more like it was being played in the altitude at Coors Field instead of in Minute Maid Park.

The win is the Astros' fifth straight. There were four home runs, delivered by rookie Yourdan Alvarez (his fourteenth), Carlos Correa and a pair of long balls from Yuli Gurriel. The offense was relentless scoring in every inning except the first and eighth, at which point they were up five runs.

The biggest crowd of the season at Minute Maid may have loved the offense, but they were there to see the Astros' latest addition to the starting rotation in Greinke. In the end, he got the win, but he gave up five runs (all earned) on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Some of that may be due to the opponent. Greinke has faced the the Rockies more than any other team in baseball. There was a sense that with so many appearances against Colorado, the solid hitters for the Rockies were slightly ahead of the Astros' new ace.

Still, it wasn't until a three-run homer in the sixth that Greinke seemed in any substantial trouble. In fact, he was originally awarded only two earned runs until the official scorekeeper changed an error by Alex Bregman to a single. He mixed his low 90s fastball with an upper 60s curve ball. One of those curve balls was deposited over the right field fence by Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia. Prior to that swing, hitters were 1-60 against his slow curve.

In the end, the story of this game was the offense. Alvarez sent another moon shot into the upper deck in right field and Gurriel sent a pair of homers into the Crawford boxes to go with an opposite field dinger from Correa. George Springer, Michael Brantley, Bregman, Correa and Gurriel all had multi-hit nights. Brantley is tied for second in baseball in that category. Only Robinson Chirinos went hitless.

It may not have been an ideal night for the Astros' new pitching star, but no doubt Greinke enjoyed watching his teammates provide more than enough run support for his first win in Houston. He'll happily take the win, his new team's 74th, no matter how they got there.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke