Greinke’s mechanical adjustment pays off; Dodgers rotation looks playoff-ready

Great stuff postgame from both Zack Greinke and Rick Honeycutt about a mechanical adjustment that Honeycutt wanted Greinke to make and that Greinke was resistant to intially. Greinke addresses it a little bit in the video I posted earlier. Basically, Honeycutt wanted Greinke to be more on a direct line toward the plate, whereas Greinke was throwing across his body, a motion he was having some success with and didn’t really want to change.

The turning point was Greinke’s July 3 start at Colorado. It was a typically crazy Coors Field game in which the Dodgers won 10-8 and Greinke got the victory, but Greinke wasn’t very good. He lasted just five innings, and he walked a season-high seven batters. After that game, Greinke bought into Honeycutt’s suggestion.

In nine subsequent starts, Greinke has averaged more than seven innings, is 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of almost 4:1 (51 strikeouts, 13 walks). More importantly, the Dodgers have won eight of those nine starts.

“He was changing his arm slot every inning, trying to find his mechanics,” Honeycutt said of that start in Denver. “Really, I just wanted to try to get him back to who he is.”

With his performance tonight, Greinke improved to 12-3 and shaved his ERA from 3.02 to 2.91, giving the Dodgers three starters — Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu — who each has 12 wins and an ERA below 3.00. Throw in fourth starter Ricky Nolasco, who seems to have taken it to a different level since being traded from the Marlins on July 6, going 4-1 with a 2.98 in eight starts, and you might have a recipe for a great deal of postseason success.

“When you get to the playoffs, it’s all about pitching,” Honeycutt said. “Really, to me, when you get down the stretch, it’s all about pitching. That allows you to have all your back-end (bullpen) guys available to match up properly. All championship teams, if you look at them, start with starting pitching.”

2 comments

  1. Tony, do you think the Dodgers will need more than four starters in the postseason? After all, that’s one time of year when you can NOT afford to “give away” a victory to the other team (as some claim Donnie did last week). Much as I like Capuano, it’s really a toss-up on which pitcher will show up when he’s on the bump, and I don’t think that’s a good playoff strategy.

  2. It is rare you need a 4th starter in the Playoffs, much less a 5th. Capuano will go back to the bullpen as a long reliever, the same way he started the season.