Wolfe: A defining moment slips away from Zack Greinke

From Tony Wolfe at FanGraphs on October 31, 2019:

It is not an indictment of a pitcher to allow a home run to Anthony Rendon. He hit 34 of those this season, and 104 over the past four seasons combined. It is also no grand failure to walk Juan Soto. The precocious 21-year-old was issued 108 free passes this season, the third-most in the National League. He also hits for quite a bit of power, so sometimes, a pitcher is content watching Soto trot down to first if it doesn’t mean he just yanked a pitch into the seats. When Rendon homered and Soto walked in back-to-back plate appearances in the seventh inning of Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday, it wasn’t, as Craig Edwards wrote earlier today, a sure sign that Houston starter Zack Greinke had run out of gas. But it was spooky enough to make Astros manager A.J. Hinch reach for his bullpen, bringing in Will Harris to face Howie Kendrick with a 2-1 lead.

By now, you know what happened next. Kendrick poked his bat head through the bottom of the zone and got enough of a Harris fastball to drill the foul pole in right field for a two-run homer. The shot gave the Nationals their first lead of the game, and they never looked back, adding three more runs the rest of the way while their bullpen stymied Houston’s destructive lineup en route to a 6-2 final and their first World Series championship in franchise history. Harris is a very good pitcher, and he made a good pitch — a cutter that was on track to perfectly dot the low and outside corner of the strike zone. But Kendrick came up with the only possible swing that could have done damage against it, and in doing so, delivered a fatal blow to the Astros’ historically great season. It also nullified a performance by Greinke that could have served as the defining moment of his career.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-defining-moment-slips-away-from-zack-greinke/

Originally published: October 31, 2019. Last Updated: October 31, 2019.