Coming off another dominant performance last week, Los Angeles' Zack Greinke has proven nearly unbeatable thus far.
That doesn't bode well for the slumping New York Mets, who have already had enough trouble with the Dodgers.Greinke takes the mound opposite Jonathon Niese as the visiting Dodgers go for a three-game sweep of the Mets on Thursday night.Greinke (7-1, 2.03 ERA) has been superb through his first nine starts, striking out 61 and walking 12 over 53 1/3 innings. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner pitched well again Friday, throwing eight innings of five-hit ball in a 7-0 win at Arizona."In '09, I just felt nasty to where I could tell them what's coming and they still didn't have a chance," Greinke told MLB's official website following his longest outing of the year. "Now I'm average to above average (stuff) and not where I was, but I mix it up and keep the hitters guessing."Greinke has yielded two runs or fewer in 21 consecutive starts dating to last year, the longest such streak in the majors since at least 1914. He is 11-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last 15 on the road."I forget how much fun it is to catch him," catcher A.J. Ellis said after returning from the disabled list last week. "He's so imaginative, he has so many weapons."Greinke hasn't faced New York (20-25) since scattering five hits over seven innings in an 8-0 road win with Milwaukee in 2012. He would appear to have another favorable matchup against a Mets team that's a major league-worst 5-14 this month.New York has dropped three straight and six of seven after falling 4-3 on Wednesday. Adrian Gonzalez homered for the third straight game and Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back shots for Los Angeles (25-22), which has taken 11 of 12 from the Mets by a combined 70-43 score.The Dodgers finished with just five hits, but all went for extra bases."Who needs singles, right?" Ellis said.Puig, who collected three hits in Tuesday's 9-4 series-opening victory, is batting .408 with seven homers and 23 RBIs over the last 19 games. Gonzalez is 9 for 16 in the last four.The Dodgers will try to stay hot against Niese (2-3, 2.54), who didn't have his best stuff in Friday's 5-2 loss at Washington. The left-hander yielded five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits over a season-low four innings."I'm not sure what happened," manager Terry Collins said. "He certainly wasn't in a very good rhythm when the game started, I didn't think. We know Jon Niese is a guy, that if things don't go good, he's one of those guys who will step up and put an end to it."Niese has gone 1-2 despite a 2.59 ERA in four home starts while receiving a combined five runs of support. He is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in four outings versus Los Angeles.Niese has held Juan Uribe hitless in 11 at-bats in their matchups, but he won't face the third baseman. Uribe, batting .303 with four homers and 18 RBIs, was put on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained hamstring.
Only 1 of the 3 runs Zack Greinke allowed Thursday was earned, meaning he broke a tie with Roger Clemens for the longest streak of starts allowing 2 ER or fewer since earned runs became an official stat in 1913.
Zack Greinke gave up 3 runs tonight at Mets. That ends a streak of 21 straight starts in which he allowed 2 or fewer. The last time prior to tonight he gave up more than 2 runs was on July 25, 2013 when he gave up 4 runs to the Reds.
Only 1 of Greinke's runs were earned, so he still has a streak of 22 straight starts with 2 or fewer ER that is active