AP Photo/ Steve Ruark
While it hasn't drawn a lot of attention since the Royals stopped playing meaningful games a long time ago, fantasy owners certainly have noticed, as Greinke is going to anchor more than one team to a title.
The Royals right-hander threw shutout ball for a second straight start on Tuesday, blanking the Tigers on the road over seven innings. He allowed just six baserunners while striking out four, despite claiming after the game that he didn't have his best stuff.
Going past the 200-inning plateau for the first time in his career has made no difference for Greinke, who turns 25 next month. He has posted six straight quality starts, with a 1.60 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in his past eight trips to the mound. For the season, he has struck out 183 batters in 202 1/3 innings, including more than one batter per inning since the All-Star break, and will get one more trip to the mound on Sunday.
Greinke clashed heavily with then-pitching coach Guy Hansen in 2005. Hansen wanted to put his own stamp on Greinke and make him more of a command pitcher who tried to hit spots, and it turned into a disastrous season. Greinke then missed virtually all of 2006 with well-documented personal issues.
Those problems are behind him, and Greinke is fulfilling his potential by getting back to what made him successful -- throwing every pitch as hard as he can. It doesn't matter what pitch it is, Greinke lets it go, with its natural movement, and trusts his ability to do the rest (during the '05 disaster, he was taking velocity off to try to do other things with his pitches). For some pitchers, less is indeed more, but Greinke is not one of them. Expect more of the same next season.
Mike Mussina, Yankees
Mussina allowed four hits and struck out six in five shutout innings to reach 19 wins for the third time in his career, but he has never won 20. He will look for his first career 20-win season in Sunday's season finale.
Javier Vazquez, White Sox
After manager Ozzie Guillen challenged him to step up his game, Vazquez went out and allowed five runs on seven hits over just four innings in a key matchup against the Twins.
If it's a must-win game, it is possible Ben Sheets could take the ball for the Brewers on Saturday if his elbow feels up to it. CC Sabathia starts Wednesday on three days of rest, and will do so again on Sunday if needed. ... J.D. Drew (back) took batting practice on Tuesday following a recent epidural, and he may appear in some games before the end of the regular season. ... Manager Joe Torre said the team likely will test Takashi Saito in a save situation sometime this week. ... Derek Lowe's next start has been pushed up to Friday, and Chad Billingsley may have his innings limited against Tim Lincecum on Sunday as the Dodgers start to setup a playoff rotation. ... Alberto Callaspo was a late scratch on Tuesday with a sore thigh and is day-to-day. He's in the midst of a 16-game hitting streak. ... The Jays have shut down starter David Purcey. ... A specialist has recommended surgery for a compressed nerve in Chris Carpenter's shoulder, casting doubt on his effectiveness for 2009. He should be ready for spring training, but he's a big question mark heading into next year. ... Brandon Moss needs knee surgery, so the Pirates have shut him down for the season. Steve Pearce, who homered Tuesday, will get some additional playing time this week. ... Adam LaRoche (hamstring) could return to the lineup Wednesday. ... Carl Crawford (finger) took swings off a tee on Tuesday and felt no pain. He could get a start or two this weekend to prepare him for the playoffs. ... Geovany Soto is out of the lineup for a few days to rest a bruised left hand. ... Yunel Escobar's hamstring injury hasn't improved much, and there is still no timetable for his return to the lineup. ... Kurt Suzuki is day-to-day with a sore hip after a home plate collision on Monday.
"The Yankees failed to make the playoffs this season, in large part because the team is paying for its inability to generate young talent, as the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays and others have been able to do. Instead, at the end of the 1996-2001 dynasty, which was built largely on homegrown talent such as Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and [Jorge] Posada, the Yankees began a period of free spending on veteran free agents, a habit that often exacerbated their player development problem and increased their reliance on older players."
-- Buster Olney Full story