Zack Greinke's Houston Astros teammates backed him with plenty of offense in his club debut last week, leaving the right-hander admittedly antsy at times.
Back in the American League for the first time since 2012, Greinke was frank about his feelings during an 11-7 home win against the Colorado Rockies.
"Yeah, it's kind of boring," Greinke said. "And just trying to stay loose, staying focused [when] not having anything to do."
The Chicago White Sox will look to keep Greinke's mind and repertoire occupied when they host the Astros in the opener of a three-game series on Monday night. After struggling during the first few weeks following the All-Star break, Chicago has won six of 10 despite being blanked twice by the Oakland Athletics over the weekend.
Shortstop Tim Anderson takes a nine-game hitting streak into the series opener. Sidelined with a high right ankle sprain from June 26 through July 29, Anderson has relocated his rhythm at the plate since returning to the team.
"Timmy's an integral part to our lineup," White Sox catcher James McCann. "Obviously it's easy to say that with the kind of numbers that he's putting up right now, but just the type of energy that he brings, the type of person that he is, the passion that he brings for playing the game, whether he's 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, he's an integral part to that lineup and that dugout."
Added Chicago manager Rick Renteria: "He's getting his sense of timing back. He's feeling more and more comfortable, physically speaking, with that leg."
Greinke (11-4, 3.08 ERA) is set to make his 28th career appearance and 25th start against the White Sox, with a majority coming when he was a member of the American League Central Division rival Kansas City Royals early in his career. Greinke is 8-10 with a 3.98 ERA against the White Sox, with 147 strikeouts in 165 innings.
On Tuesday, Greinke benefited from the Astros' attack, especially after fading late during a six-inning start against Colorado. After retiring the first eight Rockies he faced, Greinke scattered five runs on seven hits, including a three-run home run with two outs in the sixth.
Houston comes to Guaranteed Rate Field with wins in eight of nine games, and at 77-41 it is tied with the New York Yankees for the top record in the AL. Greinke is confident he soon will assimilate into the fold and keep the Astros churning toward the postseason.
"I was telling (catcher Martin Maldonado) that it kind of reminds me when I was back in Milwaukee and it seemed like we scored, like, 10 runs a game," Greinke said. "It's a good offense, and it's fun to pitch with that going on."
Rookie right-hander Dylan Cease is set to oppose Greinke in his first career start against the Astros. Cease (2-4, 6.00) snapped a four-start losing streak on Tuesday, defeating the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader behind five innings of two-run ball, scattering seven hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
--Field Level Media