While it no doubt took a lot of effort, Greinke made it look relatively easy Friday night as he allowed just two runs and struck out seven over seven innings as the D-backs beat the Rockies, 6-3.
"Zack painted the slider down and away to the right-handed hitters, painted the fastball away to right-handed hitters," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He had good command of those two pitches, brought the changeup into play in the sixth and seventh innings. Typical-type Greinke game where he located the ball, changed speeds. He does those things on a regular basis."
Greinke is doing it on a far more regular basis this year compared with last year.
In six of his seven starts this season, Greinke has pitched well, with the lone exception being a loss to the Dodgers on April 14, when he allowed five runs in five innings. Throw that game out and his ERA falls to 2.33 this year.
"I feel like it's been really good, besides the Dodger game, which was pretty sloppy," Greinke said. "Besides that Dodger game, I'm pretty happy with a lot of it. Overall I'm making a lot of good pitches. I don't feel like I'm getting hit as hard as early last year. And even early last year I felt like I was pitching all right but was having bad results. But probably better this year still."
After that Dodgers game, the feedback he received was that he wasn't throwing his slider hard enough. Since that point, his slider has ticked up by 2 mph.
"Since doing that, it's been a lot better," Greinke said. "Just the swings and the looks that you get from the hitters has been better since doing that."
Other than that, Greinke doesn't really have an explanation for why things have been better for him this year as opposed to last.
"I don't know," he said. "My fastball command has been pretty good. My slider has been as good as it's been in a long time. Maybe the defense has gotten better and it's making things smoother? I don't know. I feel like I have been making better pitches. The results are better."