Not only did Zack Greinke take a shutout into the ninth inning against the Cubs last night to improve to 13-3 with a 2.86 ERA, he also went 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a walk at the plate to continue a remarkable season offensively.
Greinke is hitting .340 with a .426 on-base percentage in 59 plate appearances. For some context, Yadier Molina leads the league with a .332 batting average and Joey Votto leads the league with a .438 on-base percentage.
Greinke has an .809 OPS, which is higher than, among other NL hitters, Brandon Phillips, Chase Headley, Ryan Zimmerman, Starling Marte, Pedro Alvarez, Jason Heyward, Hunter Pence, Andre Ethier, Adam LaRoche, David Freese, and Pablo Sandoval. Dodgers teammate Adrian Gonzalez is also on that list and in fact Greinke has a higher OPS than every Dodgers hitter except Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, and Scott Van Slyke.
As for pitchers hitting, the last one to get at least 50 plate appearances and post an on-base percentage above Greinke’s current .426 mark was fellow Dodgers star Don Newcombe at .434 in 1958. That was the Dodgers’ first season in Los Angeles and they traded the former MVP and Cy Young winner to the Reds in June.
And here’s the really weird part: Prior to this season Greinke was a career .170 hitter with 23 strikeouts versus three walks in 123 plate appearances, although he did have three homers and five doubles. This year he has the same number of walks (6) as strikeouts (6) and zero homers.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.