When Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez all grounded out in the top of the first in the span of six pitches, you kind of wondered how this game was going to go. Was playing in rain, in 40 degree temperatures going to make everyone just swing away to get this over with as soon as possible?
Fortunately, no, and even more fortunately, Zack Greinke is as reliable a pitcher as there is in baseball these days. Greinke scattered seven hits over six-plus innings, and even the one run he allowed was unearned — Drew Butera‘s passed ball allowed Josmil Pinto to be in scoring position for Eduardo Escobar‘s second-inning double. Greinke struck out six and walked only Chris Colabello, and I feel like we end up saying the same thing every game: Yeah, Greinke was great. And that’s partially because we do:
18 consecutive starts by Zack Greinke with two earned runs or fewer — the longest such streak since 1914. #Dodgers
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 1, 2014
Greinke now has a 46/6 K/BB mark this season. He’s so good that it’s nearly hilarious.
Things got just a little iffy in the seventh, however, when Greinke allowed a leadoff double to Kurt Suzuki, ending his night, then J.P. Howell loaded the bases with two out. Chris Withrow came in to immediately miss the plate on each of his first three pitches… and then for some reason, Trevor Plouffe swung on 3-0, when Withrow had shown no indication that he was getting near the plate. Plouffe popped out to short. Zero runs. Threat over. Brian Wilson followed by striking out two of the three he faced in the eighth.
Paco Rodriguez, on the other hand, made his return by looking, well, not great in the ninth. Rodriguez’ control looked terrible, and he allowed two hits and a run. (This is fully and completely Chad’s fault.) He at least managed to come back to strike out Joe Mauer, but his inability to get through the inning cleanly meant that Kenley Jansen had to come in to finish it off. While that made for easy Don Mattingly jokes, it’s more on Rodriguez for being unable to get the job done. I wouldn’t have allowed Rodriguez to face Plouffe with two on and two out either, though I do wonder if Chris Perez got lost at the airport or something. Not that Jansen made it easy, allowing Plouffe to drive in two on a double before getting Colabello to ground out.
On the other side of the ball, while a 6-1 lead looks like a nice margin, it was only 2-1 into the seventh inning, with both runs coming on singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Ramirez in the third. In the seventh, Andre Ethier doubled in Puig, chasing Kyle Gibson, and then reliever Michael Tonkin allowed a double to Juan Uribe, driving in two. Gordon added another, scoring from second, when Escobar couldn’t handle an infield single cleanly. Puig (two hits) and Kemp (two walks) each reached base three times; everyone except for Carl Crawford (0-4) reached had at least one hit.
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In the minors: Clayton Kershaw threw 86 pitches over five innings for Double-A Chattanooga tonight, allowing two runs and giving up six hits. (The Lookouts made three errors behind him, because the minors are the best.) He is almost certainly going to rejoin the Dodgers in Washington against the Nationals either on Monday or Tuesday. In Albuquerque, the Isotopes lost 7-6 to Salt Lake, but most importantly, Joc Pederson had three hits — including a homer — and a steal off of Wade LeBlanc, who not only has 417 major league innings to his name, but throws with his left hand. Entering the game, Pederson had only seven hits in 38 tries against lefties this year. Alex Guerrero hit his third homer of the year.
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Remember! Two games tomorrow, with Dan Haren starting the first one at 10 a.m. PT, and Red Patterson (probably) going in the second one at 4 p.m. PT. A 40-man move will need to be made in order to get Patterson on the roster, though again, no one on the active roster needs to go, because of the rule that allows a 26th active player for doubleheaders. Might there be another move? Orel Hershiser speculated during the game that perhaps a second pitcher may be in town, and that Rodriguez could be optioned right back after throwing 29 pitches tonight. Yimi Garcia, Stephen Fife, and Daniel Moskos all pitched in Albuquerque tonight, and Jose Dominguez has been gone only for three days (must be 10 before he comes back, barring an injury). It’s not going to be Zach Lee, and the only other Triple-A pitchers on the 40-man are Matt Magill and Colt Hynes. My guess? It’s nothing at all other than Patterson, but fun to speculate.