Zach Greinke is a straightshooter. Hyperbole is not part of the overwhelming NL Cy Young favorite’s arsenal. That’s the way it is for Greinke, who suffers from a social anxiety disorder.
After Greinke was roughed up by the Phillies last week, he was asked what he thought of their young hitters.
“From one to five, they are as good as any top five in the game right now,” Greinke said.
That’s high praise from the most dominant pitcher of 2015.
“The thing is that there is usually one guy that’s easy to pitch to in a team’s top five,” Greinke explained. “It might be the leadoff hitter or the two-hole guy. But not with with the Phillies. They don’t have a Mike Trout but they’re all tough. Dom Brown is hitting like he did when he was on that hot streak (in 2013). The young kids they have are really good.”
There’s no doubt that the Phillies offense has picked it up considerably due to the second half play of Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, Ryan Howard and Brown.
During the 22 games the Phillies five started after the break, Pete Mackanin’s team outscored opponents 113-86. The Phillies averaged 5.1 runs per game during that span, tops in the NL.
Herrera’s batting average has swelled to .290 thanks to the 22 game run, in which he produced a .371/.405/.543 slashline. Herrera has an astounding .436 average with balls in play. Here’s more slashlines from that period. Howard .269/.337/.487, Brown .290/.329/.507 and Hernandez .314/.359/.430
There is clearly a reason for the surge.
“They have good young hitters and Howard has picked it up like he usually does in August,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “They have some impressive hitters over there.”
There’s finally some protection for Maikel Franco, who is the NL Rookie of the Year conversation.
“It’s good to see that we’re all swinging the bats,” Franco said. “When we hit like we are, we can win games. The more we play together, the better we’ll be. We’re a good team.”
Greinke is impressed.
“They have a future. You have to like what you see. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here now that they’ve started hitting.”