What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s Action

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Wednesday night’s West coast match-up between the Diamondbacks and Giants at AT&T Park will feature two starters who are not only good at pitching, but hitting as well. Zack Greinke will start for the D-Backs opposite the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner. Greinke has six career home runs, including two last year, while Bumgarner has 12 career round-trippers, including five last season and one already in 2016. Since he came into the league in 2004, only six pitchers have hit more homers than Greinke: Bumgarner, Carlos Zambrano, Yovani Gallardo, Travis Wood, Micah Owings, and Dontrelle Willis. Opponents of the DH, such as yours truly, will find Wednesday’s game particularly intriguing.

Pitching-wise, both have been slow to start, but it’s nothing to worry about — especially this early in the season. Greinke has a 6.75 ERA over his first three starts, having allowed 22 hits and five walks with 15 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. Bumgarner has a 4.50 ERA on 19 hits and seven walks with 21 strikeouts in 16 innings.

Greinke inked a six-year, $206.5 million contract with the D-Backs in December, representing one of their two big offseason additions along with Shelby Miller. Miller has also struggled, and it’s been the club’s young pitchers — Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray — who have impressed thus far. Combined over six starts, Corbin and Ray have a composite 2.37 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 15 walks in 38 innings. One can almost set his or her watch to Greinke and Miller eventually figuring things out, so if Corbin and Ray can keep it up over a full season, the D-Backs will be in a good place.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker) @ Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar), 6:10 PM EST

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EST

Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman) @ New York Yankees (Nathan Eovaldi), 7:05 PM EST

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez), 7:05 PM EST

Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling) @ Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran), 7:10 PM EST

Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) @ Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello), 7:10 PM EST

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EST

Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 7:15 PM EST

Houston Astros (Doug Fister) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EST

Minnesota Twins (Tommy Milone) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EST

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke) @ San Diego Padres (Drew Pomeranz), 10:10 PM EST

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball and telling stories about the pitch, died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details. A statement from the Perry family said he “passed away peacefully at his home after a short illness.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 after a 24-16 season and with San Diego in 1978 – going 21-6 for his fifth and final 20-win season just after turning 40.

“Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and spent 10 seasons among legendary teammates like Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who said Thursday that Perry “was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. So long old Pal.”

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as “smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened.”

“During our 10 seasons together in the San Francisco Giants rotation, we combined to record 369 complete games, more than any pair of teammates in the Major Leagues,” Marichal said. “I will always remember Gaylord for his love and devotion to the game of baseball, his family, and his farm.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Giants teammate Orlando Cepeda said Perry had “a great sense of humor … a great personality and was my baseball brother.”

“In all my years in baseball, I never saw a right-handed hurler have such a presence on the field and in the clubhouse,” Cepeda added.

Seattle Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a release that he spoke with Perry during his last visit to Seattle, saying Perry was, “delightful and still passionate in his opinions on the game, and especially on pitching.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

Perry is survived by wife Deborah, and three of his four children in Allison, Amy and Beth. Perry’s son Jack had previously died.

Deborah Perry said in a statement to The AP that Gaylord Perry was “an esteemed public figure who inspired millions of fans and was a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor who changed the lives of countless people with his grace, patience and spirit.”

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.