Zack Greinke is one of a kind.
The Astros pitcher admitted he has intentionally tipped his pitches before, telling the opposing batters what pitch was coming.
Did he do it again on Thursday against the A's, only for it to backfire spectacularly?
During the top of the second in Game 4 of the AL Division Series with two on and no outs, Greinke gave an obvious No. 2 sign to his catcher Martín Maldonado, which meant A’s batter Ramón Laureano would see it as well.
On that pitch, which was a breaking ball -- the universal "No. 2" signal -- Laureano went yard.
Laureano's three-run homer (and it was an absolute rocket: 449 feet, 110.9 mph exit velocity) gave the A’s a 3-0 lead and featured some colorful commentary afterward from Laureano.
In the fifth inning, Laureano added another home run off Greinke. But no signs needed on this one.
Back in August, Greinke called out pitches against the Giants because he wanted to speed up the process when there was a runner on second base.
“It’s 50 percent my fault and 50 percent Maldy’s fault,” Greinke told reporters after the Astros’ 5-1 win that day. “I don’t like taking a long time with a man on second base especially. I’m trying to find a way to speed that up. So far this year, it's been good. It got messed up today.”
So did Greinke tell Laureano that the pitch was coming again today, or was it something else?
Former A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy did say on Twitter he believed he was signaling a sequence with Maldonado. So it wouldn't necessarily be the specific pitch that was No. 2, but in which order the sequence would have been in when giving the sign.
Brett Anderson, also a former A's pitcher, said Greinke was not telling Laureano what pitch was coming.
It is hard to believe Greinke would really give away the pitch in a playoff game, but it was a noteworthy exchange nevertheless. We'll surely find out later what Greinke says he was doing here.