Zack Greinke appears to have a good shot to extend an impressive streak that dates back nearly a century.
He's dominated the Arizona Diamondbacks since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, who head to Chase Field on Friday night looking to continue their recent mastery of this NL West rivalry.Greinke's stretch of surrendering fewer than three runs in 20 straight starts began July 25 and is the longest by anyone since the "dead ball" era.Plus, his velocity may be improving. Greinke (6-1, 2.38 ERA) used a 96-mph fastball to escape a bases-loaded jam Saturday and regularly hit 94 after mostly being in the 91-93 range this year, according to the team's official website."I didn't know I've still got 96 in me," Greinke said after striking out eight in seven innings to beat San Francisco 6-2. "It's been so long, I didn't know I had it."The right-hander has had little trouble with Arizona this year, yielding two runs in 11 1/3 innings with 16 strikeouts. Since the start of last season, Greinke is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in five starts against the Diamondbacks while holding them to a .188 average.He's helped Los Angeles (22-20) win 14 of 18 over Arizona, including seven of eight this year as the rotation has gone 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA. However, those games all came during the Diamondbacks' 8-22 start, and they've since won eight of 13.Arizona (16-27) also wants to turn the rivalry around the way Los Angeles did last year, winning seven of the final 10 meetings after losing seven of nine. Los Angeles is 8-2 in its last three series at Chase Field, where the Diamondbacks are 4-17 this season."If you remember last year, it was just the opposite. We beat those guys thoroughly in the first go-around, and it turned around," manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks' website. "We'll just go out and try to play our game and play better like we have been, get better pitching and hopefully, we can reverse the trend."His club may need to slow down Adrian Gonzalez, who has hit .429 with three homers and 13 RBIs in the season series. The slugger has particularly enjoyed playing in Arizona, where he's batted .488 with six homers and 20 RBIs in his last 12 games.Gonzalez, though, is in a 12-game homerless funk, hitting .128. Yasiel Puig, meanwhile, is batting .411 with 17 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak with three homers in the last six.Puig is 4 for 11 with four walks against Wade Miley (3-3, 4.82), who seeks a third straight quality start.Miley has gone seven innings in back-to-back outings, yielding five runs and 10 hits. He credited a mechanical change after getting his first win since April 6 in Saturday's 4-3 victory over the White Sox."I moved my feet a little bit and it kind of helped me stay back over the rubber a little bit longer," said Miley, who has walked two batters in his last 20 innings. "I feel like it helped me command the zone a little better."His command hasn't been as good against the Dodgers this year with 10 walks through 16 innings. He's 0-2 in those three starts with a 5.06 ERA.Miley has struggled with Scott Van Slyke, who has two doubles and two homers in six at-bats against him in 2014. Three of Van Slyke's 12 career homers are off Miley, leaving Dodgers manager Don Mattingly with a potentially tough decision.Van Slyke can play first base but that would mean benching Gonzalez, and he could play outfield but that would mean sitting Puig, Matt Kemp (batting .425 in his last 11 games) or Carl Crawford (.485 in last 10).
Zack Greinke threw eight scoreless innings Friday against the Diamondbacks, and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 straight starts dating back to last season.
That ties Roger Clemens for the longest streak of starts allowing two or fewer earned runs since ER became an official stat in both leagues in 1913 (from Elias). Clemens' streak of 21 spanned the 1990-91 seasons.