Zack Greinke has never been afraid to speak his mind, and he offered a frank assessment of the Astros’ incredibly deep lineup Tuesday night.
“Yeah, it's kind of boring," said Greinke, after Houston’s four home runs gave him extended time in the dugout en route to helping him earn an 11-6 win in his Astros debut. "And just trying to stay loose, staying focused [when] not having anything to do."
The Astros scored at least one run against Rockies pitchers in the second through seventh innings, undoubtedly winning the “time of possession” battle if baseball operated on a clock. Houston sent at least five batters to the plate in three different innings while Greinke was in the game, and five times total during the game. Six Astros hitters had a plate appearance in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, which included three mound visits and two pitching changes by Colorado.
Greinke retired the first eight batters he faced and was cruising until the fourth, when he began struggling with his fastball command. He finished the outing -- his first since the Astros pulled off a Trade Deadline blockbuster to acquire him from the D-backs -- with five runs allowed on seven hits and two walks over six frames. A two-out, three-run homer by Raimel Tapia in the sixth spoiled an otherwise solid debut.
But the Astros’ offense, led by a two-homer night by the red-hot Yuli Gurriel, has the ability to give any of its starters a wide margin for error. Greinke watched his lineup churn all night long from the Houston bench, and he marveled how often the outfield train at Minute Maid Park blared its horn when the Astros scored.
“I was telling [catcher Martin Maldonado] that it kind of reminds me when I was back in Milwaukee and it seemed like we scored, like, 10 runs a game,” said Greinke. “It’s a good offense, and it’s fun to pitch with that going on.”
Houston entered Wednesday ranked second in the Majors in team batting average (.272), third in hits (1,064) and fourth in homers (190).