Greinke eyes consistency after sharp start

Greinke eyes consistency after sharp start

PHOENIX -- Every season is different, but Zack Greinke didn't expect this one to be this different.

Including Tuesday night's 5-3 win over the Yankees at Chase Field, Greinke has already allowed 32 runs in his first nine starts with the D-backs. Last season for the Dodgers, it took 25 starts for Greinke reach that mark.

"Do I look back at it? I look back to see if I'm doing anything different," said Greinke after allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings to record his fourth win in his last six starts. "I know last year was good and this year hasn't been very good."

Greinke fans seven in win

Last year for Greinke was epic. He was 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA, and for six starts from June 19 to July 18, he didn't allow a run. Now he's 4-3 with 5.08 ERA, hardly what he or anyone else expected.

"I'm just trying to be consistent. I've had too many bad games so far this year," he said. "If I have more games like this, it will be alright."

Asked if he is doing anything different, Greinke said: "Maybe there is something different, but if it is, it's small. It's not like there's a big difference. The first game I pitched really bad. It shouldn't happen."

For the first seven innings, it was vintage Greinke, using all his pitches and moving up and down in the strike zone. He walked none, struck out seven and allowed just three hits, including a long homer with one out in the second inning by Starlin Castro on "a fastball right down the middle," Greinke said.

He retired 12 in a row after the homer and didn't even have to pitch out of the stretch until Dustin Ackley smacked a pinch-hit single with one out in the sixth.

At 91 pitches, it might have been tempting for D-backs manager Chip Hale to call it a night for Greinke after seven. But Greinke came out for the eighth and allowed singles to Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks. That was it for Greinke, although both runners came around to score against reliever Daniel Hudson.

"He started to elevate [the changeup] there in the eighth and they got a couple of hits on it," Hale said.

Asked about his thought process in keeping Greinke in the game, Hale added, "He had plenty of pitches [left]. He could go to 110. If he's not feeling it, he'll let us know. That's basically what we've come to terms with. If he comes off in the seventh and he's had enough he'd let us know. If not, he's good to go."

On this occasion, there was no discussion.

"That's something he doesn't want to be involved with," Hale said. "As long as he felt good, he can keep going. If we feel like it's better for the team to take him out, he's fine with it. He's got a real good handle on it."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.