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UK roundup: Teachers’ pension scheme liabilities grow by £76bn

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first_imgBlackRock handed £1.5bn LDI mandateThe Serco pension scheme has appointed BlackRock to run its liability-driven investment (LDI) strategy.The scheme – which caters for employees of Serco, a service provider for the public sector – previously employed three LDI managers. This approach was reviewed with a view to reaching fully funded status within 10 years, according to a statement from BlackRock released yesterday.Guy Leach, chairman of the Serco Pension and Life Assurance Scheme, said: “The scheme is in a strong position, but we recognised that efficiencies could be made by transitioning our LDI portfolios into one mandate. Having the ability to onboard and transition the funds seamlessly was a key requirement when choosing an investment manager. The team at BlackRock showed real strength and expertise in LDI, and we were confident that they were best placed to handle the transitions of the three existing portfolios and manage the risks that came with this.”Graham Jung, managing director in BlackRock’s UK institutional business, added that the group’s scale and access to markets helped complete the “complex” transition. Meanwhile, accounts for two other unfunded public sector schemes showed a similar significant increase in liabilities.The pension scheme for the UK’s judiciary service recorded a 22% increase in liabilities, also primarily caused by a reduction in the discount rate. It contributed to the scheme’s obligations rising by £682m. Liabilities were £3.8bn at the end of March.The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s pension scheme recorded a 23% rise in its liabilities, from £6.7bn to £8.3bn at the end of March.LGPS pool names two non-execs to board The liabilities of the UK’s Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) ballooned by 27.8% in the 12 months to 31 March 2017, according to the scheme’s annual report and accounts.Liabilities reached £347.2bn (€402.7bn), up from £271.7bn a year earlier. The increase was driven primarily by a reduction in the discount rate, which was cut from 3.6% to 2.8%.TPS is an unfunded scheme, meaning annual benefit payments are paid direct from government contingency funds. It covers more than 2m current and former teachers and other education sector staff.In addition, the scheme has had to set aside £35m to compensate pensioners who were underpaid between April 2011 and April 2015.center_img LGPS Central, one of eight local government pension scheme (LGPS) asset pools, has named two non-executive directors to its board.John Nestor and Eithne McManus join Joanne Segars (chair) and Andrew Warwick-Thompson (CEO) on the leadership team for LGPS Central’s asset management company.The company was set up to consolidate £40bn of assets from nine LGPS funds based in the Midlands.Nestor has worked in asset management for more than 30 years, including in UK chief executive roles at UBS Global Asset Management and Citigroup Asset Management. He has also worked as institutional marketing director at Henderson Global Investors. He is currently chair of Prudential’s corporate pension fund trustee board, and an independent member of the company’s independent governance committee.McManus currently sits on the boards of insurance companies Countrywide Assured and UIA. She was previously a director at Countrywide and worked as chief financial officer and later CEO of City of Westminster Assurance.McManus will chair the audit, risk and compliance committee at LGPS Central, while Nestor will chair the remuneration committee.last_img read more

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ExxonMobil spins drill bit off Australia in search of new gas source

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first_imgExxonMobil has begun an offshore exploration drilling program in the Gippsland Basin to search for new sources of gas.Ocean Monarch; Source: Quadrant EnergyExxonMobil said on Monday that it was drilling two exploration wells, known as Baldfish and Hairtail, on the VIC/P70 block as part of its investment program to find and bring online new gas supplies.Exxon’s Australian subsidiary Esso Deepwater Gippsland holds a 100 percent interest in the VIC/P70 block, which is approximately 90 kilometers off the East Gippsland Victorian coast.The wells are being drilled by Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Monarch semi-submersible drilling rig, and the operations are expected to take several months.Chairman Richard Owen said: “The two wells will be drilled in water depths ranging from 350 to 700 meters, amongst the deepest water depths drilled in the Gippsland Basin.Targeting gas“These wells are targeting gas prospects, with the objective of proving up resources for timely development and contribution to the Australian domestic gas market.”The AUD$120 million ($88.25 M) investment in drilling by Esso Deepwater Gippsland is in addition to the recent investments by ExxonMobil Australia in Victoria, including the AUD$4.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project, the AUD$1 billion Longford Gas Conditioning Plant and the future development of the West Barracouta gas field.“This $120 million exploration drilling program demonstrates our commitment to bringing new gas supplies to the domestic market.“ExxonMobil Australia is also actively considering a potential LNG import project to bring additional supply to the east coast gas market,” Owen added.Since ExxonMobil drilled the first well in 1965 in Australia’s Bass Strait, approximately four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced.VIC/P70 location; Source: ExxonMobillast_img read more

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… Players’ Fitness Excites Rohr

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first_imgGernot Rohr It is not yet clear whether the former Chelsea stalwart will get a start shirt or from the bench on Wednesday.“It’s a major boost for Eagles that the team captain is fully back and I’m particularly glad that all the injured players have recovered and ready to play positive part in our quest to progress to the next phase of the tournament.“When a coach is in this situation, the problem is half solved but one major obstacle that it also creates is that it brings selection problem.“The question now is do you drop or substitute a player that played well in the last match for another first team player? The answer is simple and at same time difficult. Just like I did in the last match, my selection would be based on whatever formation we are adopting against South Africa.“We have to think deep what our opponent want to come up with. Their strength and weakness will determine who will start and who will not play any part at all.“Overall, I’m delighted that I have a complement of a full squad for the match,” Rohr explained last night.Shehu Abdulahi who was missing in action is also back and took part in the training session yesterday evening.Just like in the previous round, the Eagles dedicated almost half an hour perfecting penalty kicks to avoid a repeat of what happened to the team when it lost in shoot out to Cameroon in 2000 edition which Nigeria lost 2-4 after 2-2 scoreline at 120 minutes.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr is delighted to have a complete team for the first time since the tournament began two weeks ago.Ahead of the quarter-final clash against South Africa tomorrow in Cairo, all the injured players have been given clean bill of health thus making the coach not to have too much stress in filling the gaps.Team captain, John Obi Mikel, who played no part in the last match against Cameroon has handed the coach selection boost when he completed the training session of the squad on Sunday night and yesterday evening.last_img read more

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Agyemang- Badu ruled out of Malawi clash

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first_imgBlack Stars midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu has been ruled out of Ghana’s 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi on Saturday.The Udinese midfielder who was hoping to recover from a shoulder injury he sustained before joining the team did not train with his colleagues as they had their last training session at the match venue on Friday evening.“We monitored him and tried our best but unfortunately he still feels pains. What it means is that he won’t be able to play the game tomorrow,” team doctor Adam Baba confirmed at a post match conference on Friday.“He wanted to play through the pain barrier but we advised against that because the long-term consequences won’t be good for him,”“That is the situation that we find ourselves and we must live with it. It shouldn’t take long for him to recover fully.”last_img read more

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Geocaching atop Mt. Fuji

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first_img SharePrint RelatedA List to LoveNovember 6, 2018In “News”The Seanachai: Keeper of the Old Lore, Reviewer of the New CachesMay 6, 2015In “Community”Featured Geocacher of the Month Award WinnersAugust 25, 2011In “Community” Written by Annie Love, a Geocaching HQ EmployeeThis article was originally published in the Portuguese “GeoMagazine.”Group shot at the beginning of the trekI had heard August is the worst time of year to travel to Japan. So what did I do? I scheduled my two week holiday in Japan at the end of August. Naturally, the only reason I’d do something so silly is because of geocaching. I also wanted to climb Mt. Fuji and the window for doing so safely falls right around this time.After cashing in airline miles for a free ticket to Tokyo, I started planning my big adventure. I knew I’d need help from locals over there, so I reached out to every contact I knew in Japan. After some months of planning, I decided to join a group of local geocachers at GC5VHCG — A CITO event that would take place on Mt. Fuji. Every year a group of Japanese geocachers makes the trek with the goal of giving back by cleaning up trash on the mountain.While you can climb to the top and back in a day trip, the group wanted to catch the sunrise on top of the mountain, so it would be an overnight adventure for us. We left Tokyo by 8am and were at the trailhead at 11am. There were 11 of us total. Even though only three of us spoke English and I only knew four words of Japanese, we had little trouble understanding each other along the way.Taxi drive up to 5th station, the trail headWe started off on the trail and were welcomed by the greeting of “Konichiwa” from every climber we passed along the way. Since the climbing season is very short on Mt. Fuji, there were plenty of climbers heading up and down the mountain. The clouds were low and a mist was falling, so we weren’t treated to great views in the first few hours of our trek.Approaching one of the many stations on the trailThe Fuji climb is broken up into stations, which provide naturally good rest points every 45 minutes. We started at the 5th station (2400 meters) on the Fujinomiya Trail and had booked a hut at station 9.5 for spending the night. The goal was to reach this station around 5pm, have dinner and head to bed early. We’d get up before dawn and finish the last half hour of the hike to the summit to see the sunrise on top.I’ve done a lot of hiking over my lifetime and I must say, it’s very rare to run into places that will sell you snacks, water, or even beer mid-hike! Each station on Mt. Fuji did just that, along with providing other climbing gear, souvenirs, or just a warm, dry place to rest. For 200 yen (€1.50), you could even use a vault toilet.Group dinner/break at station 9.5Most of the climb feels like you’re walking on a Martian landscape. Everywhere you look, there’s beautiful red and black volcanic rocks and soil. We took the shortest, steepest route up the mountain. Some consider this the easiest route as I learned other routes tend to be filled with so much loose rock or scree that every step you take, you slide down the hill.At around the 8th station, the higher clouds lifted and revealed a spectacular view of the side of Mt. Fuji and a never-ending sea of clouds. These are the types of views that make it all worth it.When the dense fog cleared, this was the incredible viewWe reached station 9.5 (elevation 3250 meters) on schedule around 5pm. From here, we could see the Torii (traditional Japanese gate) at the top. I could almost reach out and touch it, we were so close! After getting settled into our hut and having a nice warm meal with beer, we settled in for the night. In the middle of the night, I woke up to sounds of the wind and rain outside our hut. I worried that this storm wasn’t going to go away by the time we were to make our summit attempt.My worries became reality when the heavy gusting winds and rain were still there at 5am. The workers at the hut warned us that conditions were only worse on top and that it would not be safe for us to summit. My heart sank. We had worked so hard and were so close. With all the planning and effort that went into making the trip and climb possible, getting turned around by bad weather was very hard to take. But safety must come first.Sunset outside our hut on the mountainSometimes on an adventure you don’t win the “prize” you originally set out for, and that’s okay. The journey you take, the friends you’ve made, and the memories you keep make it all worth it. Now I just need to figure out when I can go back and try for the summit again. I told my new geocaching friends that I would be back someday. After all, the geocaches on the summit are still up there waiting for me!9th station… almost at the top!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

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Jeev Milkha Singh targets Major ambitions at The Open

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first_imgThe last time Jeev Milkha Singh turned up for The Open, he had to leave even before the tournament began in 2009 at Turnberry and two years before that he missed the cut at Carnoustie. So there is some unfinished business at The Open for the Chandigarh golfer.India has a lot of interest in this year’s edition with Anirban Lahiri and Daniel Chopra, the Indo-Swede, also in the field.This is only the second time two Indians are teeing up at The Open. The first time it happened in 2009, Jeev pulled out before the start due to injury, while Gaganjeet Bhullar missed the cut on debut.Jeev comes as almost the last man to get into The Open by winning the Scottish Open to end a four-year title drought.Jeev, whose sole top-10 in a Major has been tied ninth at the PGA Championships in 2008, is hoping to continue his great form in links golf.”I like golf in tough and testing conditions. Wind, cold and even rain makes golf, particularly links Golf a real challenge and I actually love it, even though many find it taxing and even frustrating,” says Jeev.The two-time Asian Tour number one produced a stunning play-off victory in Scotland and now wants to treat his third Open appearance as just another tournament. He did not subject himself to any additional pressure by flying to his London home to relax for a day before coming to Lytham on Monday evening and then playing just six holes on Tuesday.advertisement”The course is looking superb. It is in great shape, just the way an Open course is expected to be. The key is to avoid the bunkers of which there are 206, and the rough is unforgiving. So one has to hit straight, stay in the fairways and not get too ambitious,” said Jeev.”This is just another week for me. I’m not going to treat it differently. I want to treat it like another event. That’s why I’ve just showed up on Tuesday and take it from there.”However, the Indian has yet to pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate his 14th international victory. “It was great satisfaction winning against a top field and tough conditions. We didn’t celebrate. All plans had to change (as he initially wasn’t in The Open field) and I went back to London, got in at 1.30am after Sunday. We didn’t have a chance to celebrate but we’ll do it next week,” he said. “I take a lot of confidence and want to move back into the top-50 and do well in the Majors.”Jeev is happy not just with his form but the fact that he is injury-free. He won four times in 2006 and four times in 2008, followed by a tough period with injuries.”It was a frustrating period. You just have to hang in there and believe that things will turn around. If you do the right stuff, good things will happen,” he said. “When a player is injury-free, he can work harder. It gives him more confidence. Last few weeks, I was having two or three good rounds. I just needed to put in four good rounds. It happened last week and the win came.”last_img read more

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10 months agoFC Sion attacker Fortune: Tough to turn down Mertesacker and Arsenal

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first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say FC Sion attacker Fortune: Tough to turn down Mertesacker and Arsenalby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFC Sion attacker Yassin Fortune has explained leaving Arsenal this summer.The 19 year-old rejected a new contract offer from the Gunners to sign permanently with the Swiss outfit.He told Foot Mercato: “Arsenal had offered to extend four years. But I started to join the pros. Arsenal is a great club, but I needed playing time. I had to play, and I preferred to leave. “It was difficult to stay at Arsenal in the sense that there were big names and a new coach (Unai Emery). I spoke with Per Mertesacker who made me a little hesitant.”He really wanted me to stay. But I felt that the best solution was to leave. At that time I did not yet have contact with Sion, but with other clubs. I was contacted by Sion fifteen days after my decision to leave. I had a preference to return to France but despite some contacts it is Sion who had my preference.” last_img read more

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11 days agoAston Villa defender Mings defiant after England debut

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first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Aston Villa defender Mings defiant after England debutby Freddie Taylor11 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTyrone Mings was delighted to make his England debut despite being subjected to racist abuse.The Aston Villa stopper started alongside Harry Maguire at centre-back in the 6-0 win over Bulgaria.Mings was the victim of racist taunts from the home crowd, but he was happy the Three Lions finished the match.Speaking after the game, he said: “It was a great occasion; I made my England debut. Slightly overshadowed by a few disappointing chants, which could be clearly heard on the pitch, but we showed a great response and ultimately we let the football do the talking.”I think the protocol was effective, and there was less chanting after that. We made a decision at half-time to come out and play the game, which we thought was the right thing to do.” last_img read more

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Top court to hear federal governments appeal on residential school records

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first_imgOTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada is set to hold a hearing today on the federal government’s appeal of a decision that allows personal records from survivors of residential schools to be destroyed after 15 years unless individuals decide otherwise.Ottawa argues it controls the documents and that they are subject to legislation pertaining to access to information, archiving and privacy.“To ensure that the history of what happened at the residential schools is not forgotten or lost on future generations, the documentary record must be preserved,” the attorney general argued in her factum to the court.The government also argues that the use of the court’s “inherent jurisdiction” to order the wholesale destruction of the records “fails to respect the intentions”of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, which settled the largest class action in Canadian history.“Many of the records at issue in this appeal often contain deeply personal accounts of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of former students,” the factum says.“The information was provided in the context of an independent assessment process to provide compensation for this abuse.”Carey Newman, a First Nations artist who formed a group called the Coalition to Preserve Truth, agrees the impact of destroying the documents would be enormous, calling them a very important piece of Canadian history.Newman said he plans to attend the court’s hearing on Thursday.The coalition believes traumatic events are only part of the complex history of residential schools, Newman said; the ensuing personal trauma has been resonating through the lives of families for generations.Newman, the son of a residential school survivor, decided to push for the preservation of the records after a friend asked him how he would feel about their destruction.“It just kind of sat on my heart,” he said in an interview.“That was the question for me that sort of convinced me that I had to do something … I think it is important for people to know this is the very final decision and that the largest number of stories about the worst things that happened in residential school are at stake.”Many survivors are either gravely ill or have already died and do not have the capacity to make a request to preserve the records, Newman added.The federal government and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission both agree the survivor accounts are a critical part of Canadian history that should be preserved.For its part, the independent claims adjudicator has maintained that claimants were promised confidentiality, which means that only they have the right to waive their privacy.A lower court judge ruled the material should be destroyed after 15 years, but individuals could consent to have their stories preserved at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg.In a split decision in April 2016, the Ontario Court of Appeal agreed, noting the documents were not government records subject to archiving laws.The court also rejected the idea the documents were “government records” but fell under judicial control.A dissenting justice maintained, however, that documents should be turned over to Library and Archives Canada, subject to normal privacy safeguards and rules.“If the IAP documents are destroyed,” wrote Justice Robert Sharpe, “we obliterate an important part of our effort to deal with a very dark moment in our history.”The Assembly of First Nations argues the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the promises of confidentiality made to former students of residential schools by ordering the destruction of records and ensuring former students maintain control over the accounts of their residential school experiences.“The future release of IAP records without the consent of claimants will result in the re-victimization of former students and will pose real harms to First Nation communities,” the organization said in its factum to the court.“This is particularly problematic in the case of victims and perpetrators related to student-on-student abuse.”—With files from Colin Perkel in Toronto; follow @kkirkup on Twitterlast_img read more

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Zack Greinke Is One Of A Kind

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Here, we point out that the goal of a changeup is usually to fool the batter by presenting a speed different from that of the fastball. Greinke does not do that. Just over a month ago, the Houston Astros pulled off the biggest move of the season: In a deal reported minutes after the trade deadline had passed, the Astros acquired Cy Young winner Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks to form baseball’s best rotation alongside Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the two likeliest Cy Young candidates.Greinke, a future Hall of Famer, has been stellar this season — a 2.99 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP. According to FiveThirtyEight’s pitcher ratings, he would be the top pitcher on two-thirds of teams and the No. 3 on just three — and that’s the one he’s on. The move already has paid dividends for the ‘Stros, who are 5-2 in Greinke’s starts and have baseball’s best run differential since the trade — by nearly 50 runs.Now six weeks into team No. 6 (remember when he was traded to the Angels for the 2012 stretch run?), Greinke continues to adapt. At 35 years old, it’s anyone’s guess how long he can keep up this performance, but he’s signed through 2021 and should contribute through then. And because of the way he’s dealt with his decreasing velocity by relying on command and movement, he should be set up well for continued long-term success.According to Statcast, Greinke throws eight pitches: four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, curve, sinker (or two-seam fastball), split finger, cutter and eephus. (We’ll get back to that last one.) Only Yu Darvish has as many listed on his Statcast page, with the same eight (though the classifications may hide some of Darvish’s arsenal). Anibal Sanchez, Rich Hill and Odrisamer Despaigne are the only pitchers with seven.But it’s not just the variety of pitches that makes Greinke special. It’s how he throws them.Consider his changeup. Greinke throws his offspeed on 21.9 percent of pitches — a fairly steady increase from 7.9 percent back in 2008. Yet as his fastball has lost velocity, from once hitting more than 100 miles per hour in 2010 to averaging below 90 in 2019, his changeup has gotten faster. Instead, Greinke uses a power changeup with devastating late movement. Only Edubray Ramos has a smaller average speed difference. Greinke’s pitch has surpassed his slider, which used to be considered his best pitch, as the second option. Along with this, Greinke’s cutter, a staple of his arsenal in 2012 and 2013, has all but disappeared.Then there’s the curveball, a slow sweeping pitch. Greinke’s curveball is the second-slowest among qualified starters, behind the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin, at just over 70 miles per hour.This is where the eephus comes in. Greinke’s curve can be thrown so slow that Statcast registers it as the arcing pitch. But it’s not clear whether it’s a different pitch or just a curveball thrown slower. Nobody is throwing a true eephus, though six pitchers are credited with the pitch this year; only Greinke has one under 60 miles per hour. But even if you consider his eephus and his curveball as the same pitch, Greinke would still be tied with Sanchez and Darvish for the lead with seven different pitches.MLB pitchers have struck out 16 hitters on sub-67 mph pitches this year. Greinke owns eight of those (and four of the rest are from position players) with his slow curve that can make batters look silly.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/d20e23b5-749c-4869-9845-d5b61e1ee064.mp400:0000:0000:14Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The newest one is the split-finger, which he threw in April for the first time since pitch tracking began in 2008. He’s thrown five so far in 2019, including three to Jacob DeGrom in the same at bat. If he’s experimenting with it now, there’s a chance it becomes a regular part of his arsenal in the future, especially with the Astros’ penchant for getting the most out of pitch selection.But beyond his wide repertoire of pitches, Greinke’s pitching style is one of a kind. He throws most pitches low but gets strikes. Even though he throws fewer pitches in the strike zone than average, he almost never falls behind. And his .198 wOBA allowed on pitches out of the zone is second in MLB, also behind Corbin.Greinke has faced just 11 3-0 counts this year and had thrown a fastball every time, almost always on the edge, until he gave Christian Yelich a perfect changeup last week. None of the 20 other pitchers with as many pitches this year has seen fewer than 15 such counts. In the month of July, Greinke threw 479 pitches and none was in a 3-0 count. He threw eight pitches with a 2-0 count — seven were in the strike zone and the other was fouled off. He’ll throw in the strike zone when he falls behind; that just doesn’t happen very often. And even when he does, batters can’t take advantage — they’re just 2-16 on 2-0 counts this year despite seeing 65 percent of pitches in the strike zone.When he’s ahead, it’s a different story. That’s when the sub-70 curveball becomes devastating. Ahead in the count, Greinke throws just 27 percent of pitches in the strike zone; the league average is 38 percent. And 76 percent of his strikeouts have been on pitches out of the zone, well higher than the league average of 56 percent. And his plan of attack is to go low. On 1-2 counts, specifically, Greinke throws in either the lower third or below the strike zone more often than any other pitcher.Greinke is truly a unique pitcher. His fastball and offspeed have nearly the same velocity, but his curveball is one of the slowest. He throws outside of the strike zone but never falls behind, and batters can’t seem to figure out any of his pitches.Through his impressive career, the one thing Greinke lacks is a ring. He has 11 postseason appearances, but his biggest impact was probably his lone start in the 2014 NLDS (in which he scored more runs than he allowed in seven innings). He makes the top 10 list of career games started without a World Series appearance. But if he earns a huge postseason moment, he could move from likely Hall of Famer to potentially first ballot. Perhaps he’ll have that chance in Houston this October.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

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