Zack Greinke took the mound for a 25-pitch simulated game yesterday and afterward sounded more or less as optimistic as Zack Greinke tends to get about such things when speaking to reporters:
It went OK. I threw and I was healthy, so that’s good. It was nothing special, it was in the batting cages, so you couldn’t really get as good a feel for it as you normally would.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke indicated that Greinke is privately a lot more optimistic about a speedy recovery, saying: “He’s trying to come real fast and I think trainer Roger Caplinger will have to look at that so we just don’t let him go full-go, because that’s what he’d like to do.”
George Von Benko of MLB.com reports that Greinke is slated to throw another simulated game before potentially being cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A. There’s still a chance he’ll be ready to return from a fractured rib by the end of the month.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.