Zack Greinke's ERA is more than double his xFIP. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
In anticipation of the Mets' upcoming series in Milwaukee, we asked some questions of Kyle Lobner of Brew Crew Ball. Eric answered questions for them, too, which you can read here.
Zack Greinke's xFIP is outstanding, but even after his start last night, his ERA still isn't pretty. Are Brewers fans freaking out, or do they see that he's been very unlucky so far?
There's an interesting divide in play when it comes to Greinke. I think everyone acknowledges that at least some of his struggles are due to luck, and that he'll likely be very successful in the long term if he can keep his strikeout and walk rates (presently 11.2 and 1.5 per nine) at this level. However, Greinke has been hit hard when he's been hit, which is part of the reason opposing batters are hitting .346 on balls in play against him.
I think everyone largely agrees that Greinke will be somewhere between good and excellent once things even out a bit. However, there is some understandable disagreement regarding how much of his troubles have been his own fault.
Speaking of starting pitching, the Mets dodge a bullet in missing Greinke but still have to face Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Yovani Gallardo. Is there anything Mets fans should know about them that they might not see by looking at Fangraphs or Baseball Reference?
I guess that depends where they're looking on B-Ref. Marcum has been the best pitcher on this team for most of 2011. He's been pretty consistent and his control is very good, but he will frequently get lifted from games early (before 100 pitches) and he'll occasionally give up the big inning late in starts. It seems like his injury history or other factors limit his ability to go as deep into games as pitchers of his caliber usually do.
Randy Wolf has been spending most of the season doing a Jekyll and Hyde impersonation, and you'll likely know which one you're getting early. He's only had a couple of outings this season that weren't either excellent or total disasters. He also can't or won't pitch to Jonathan Lucroy, so the Mets will likely get the advantage of pitching to Wil Nieves (and his .400 OPS) on Wednesday.
Yovani Gallardo has been very good lately but high pitch counts remain his arch-nemesis. He'll have outings where he's pitching effectively but simply using too many pitches to put batters away, causing him to have to come out of games earlier than he should. He's had nine outings this year of six innings or less, and he's needed 100 or more pitches to get through eight of them.
I'd be shocked if the crowd doesn't cheer for Capuano, and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a standing ovation. Capuano had several very good seasons as a Brewer, never really did anything to isolate himself from the Milwaukee fans and was a great story last season when he came back from his injuries. Capuano is the kind of former Brewer I'm happy to see do well, even if he is helping another team.
Jason Bay's track record of success may have been longer, but he and Casey McGehee enter the series with nearly identical wOBA's of .279 and .278. There aren't many signs of hope for Bay, but how about McGehee?
I don't think McGehee is a total loss at this point, but his frustration is clearly evident lately. His hits have been few and far between lately, and when they do come they almost always seem to be on ground balls that sneak through. He's likely going to be both helped and hindered by the fact that the Brewers don't have a true option to replace him on a day-to-day level: They're going to have to leave him in there for the time being and hope he figures it out.