LOS ANGELES: Zack Greinke will start for the Houston Astros in their Game 4 AL Division Series matchup against the Oakland Athletics. Manger Dusty Baker made the announcement on Thursday three hours before the scheduled first pitch.
The right-hander is Houston’s most experienced starter but has been dealing with arm soreness. Greinke threw off flat ground after Tuesday’s game and told Baker Thursday morning he was ready to go. Houston is a win away from reaching the AL Championship Series for the third straight year.
He had to hear from the doctor he didnt have anything structurally wrong with his arm, which eased his mind. It made it easier for him to make the decision, Baker said.
The 36-year-old Greinke has struggled down the stretch. He has pitched five innings or fewer in each of his last four starts, including the wild-card series opener against Minnesota, allowing 12 earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in that span.
Baker said he wasn’t sure how long Greinke could go against the Athletics. His other concern is Houston’s bullpen, which has been taxed during the first three games.
We hope to get as many quality innings as Greinke can give us and not have too many bullpen innings. The longer your starter can go the less mixing and matching you have to do, Baker said.
The bullpen had not allowed an earned run in its first four postseason games, but gave up five runs and six hits Wednesday.
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