Greinke can swing it, posing intriguing 'dilemma'

October 25th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- One of the benefits of having veteran right-hander start Game 3 of the World Series at Nationals Park is his ability to swing the bat. There will be no designated hitter in Games 3-5 in a National League ballpark, so pitchers will hit. That’s something Greinke does pretty well for a pitcher.

In 519 career at-bats, Greinke is a .225 hitter with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. Those numbers certainly won’t make up for the loss of designated hitter -- who’s likely to start in the outfield in one of the three possible games in Washington -- but Greinke should at least be able to put together competitive at-bats.

“I’m glad that Zack's here,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “We put him in Game 3 mostly because he's behind JV [Justin Verlander] and Gerrit [Cole]. But it does help that Game 3 is here in the National League city and he's familiar with the bat and he can move things around.

“That dilemma, it's a little different in the playoffs. In a regular-season game you would say, ‘Hey, that helps me in that fifth- and sixth-inning decision when a guy can handle the bat, maybe squeeze a couple innings out of him.’”

At some point, Hinch will have to determine whether it makes sense to pinch-hit for Greinke, although Greinke might have a longer leash than a pitcher who can’t handle the bat. The Astros have struggled offensively in the playoffs, though, and they may choose to find a spark if Greinke’s spot comes up in a key moment.

“So I guess we'll see if it changes how I manage his at-bats and where we are when he gets up to bat,” Hinch said.

Bregman has deep ties to Washington

One of the biggest moments in the career of Astros All-Star came in the summer of 2018, when he was named Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game at Nationals Park. Bregman took home the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Trophy, which carried a huge meaning, considering his family’s ties to the Splendid Splinter.

Bregman’s grandfather, Stanley Bregman, was the general counsel of the Washington Senators and Alex’s father, Sam, grew up spending a lot of time around Williams, the Hall of Fame slugger for the Red Sox who used to manage the Senators.

“My dad negotiated Ted Williams’ contract,” said Sam Bregman, who grew up in Bethesda, Md. “I got to hang out with Ted Williams in the late 1960s, early ’70s. I was watching Alex win the Ted Williams Award and thinking this is crazy, crazy stuff.”

Sam Bregman remembers sitting on Williams’ lap as a child and has fond memories of the stories his young ears heard. His relationship with Williams helped foster his love for baseball.

“One of the memories I have is he hated pitchers,” Sam Bregman said. “Even the ones that played for him. He never had a good thing to say about pitchers, but he was a great, likable guy. He had a salty mouth, but I remember that as a kid having to get my dad to explain what different words meant that he said. He was a great influence. He helped with my love of the game. The Bregmans have always loved the game and we always will, obviously.”