Bryce Harper not impressed by Zack Greinke: “I don’t think he was very tough.”

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Zack Greinke is all the rage, as he’s two scoreless starts away from matching or exceeding Orel Hershiser’s major league record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. He increased his streak to 43 2/3 innings — the longest such streak since Hershiser — with eight terrific innings against Bryce Harper and the Nationals on Sunday, out-dueling Max Scherzer.

Greinke has been baseball’s best starter to date, and Harper has been baseball’s best hitter this season. So it was a veritable clash of the titans and Greinke ultimately won out as Harper went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk against him. Harper still wasn’t impressed by Greinke, however. Via CSN Washington’s Chase Hughes:

“I think he was okay. When you’re getting five to six inches off of the plate, you better win the game,” Harper said. “For me, I don’t think he was very tough. He’s a great pitcher, he does what he does, but when you’re getting six inches off the plate it’s pretty tough to face him.”

Harper did acknowledge Greinke’s prowess, calling him a “damn good pitcher”, but admitted that he doesn’t watch Greinke with any regularity, suggesting the media ask someone on the West coast instead.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.