Ho hum. You can set your watch by Zack Greinke being brilliant these days, and that’s exactly what he was, as the Dodgers won by a score of 4-3, though the end of the game was a bit too interesting.
Greinke carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, before it was broken up by a Jarrod Saltalamacchia double off the center field wall. Greinke danced out of trouble in the sixth, but added a quick seventh and eighth and ended with eight innings of shutout ball. Greinke struck out eight batters and walked two, lowering his season ERA to 1.61 while raising his season’s innings total to 200-2/3. He was efficient, too, needing just 93 pitches to finish his day.
The most impressive part of Greinke’s outing is what he did to Dodger nemesis Paul Goldschmidt:
He struck out Goldschmidt three times on the day.
Don Mattingly turned to Kenley Jansen to finish the ninth inning, which was puzzling because it’s the second day in a row he was brought in with a four run lead. Jansen lacked his usual command, and after walking Goldschmidt and allowing a single to David Peralta, Saltalamacchia hit a three run shot to right to bring the Diamondbacks to within one. Jansen then mercifully struck out Jake Lamb to end the game. Removing Greinke was a bit questionable, but Greinke is regarded for knowing how much he has left. I was surprised that Mattingly turned to Jansen instead of, say, Chris Hatcher, but that doesn’t mean that Jansen would automatically falter. 99 times out of 100, Jansen with a four run lead ends with a victory, as it did this time. It was just more stressful than fans would have liked. Jansen will almost certainly be unavailable tomorrow after 33 pitches today, which is the bigger issue.
On offense, Justin Ruggiano began the game against Patrick Corbin (who was fooling nobody early) as he left off, missing a leadoff home run by inches. Justin Turner drove him in with his first of two solid singles, which is a pretty good sign on its own. The Dodgers are on the verge of some very difficult roster decisions, and Turner doesn’t want to sit either. Corbin did settle down, and ended up pitching six innings of two-run ball.
Speaking of that tough roster decision, Corey Seager showed that he is human (boo!), going 0-for-4 this afternoon, though he did work a nine pitch walk late in the game. Seager still made some solid contact, and just got under a near grand slam in the top of the seventh. A.J. Ellis continued his good recent hitting as well, adding an insurance run with a home run to deep right-center in the eighth inning. It ended up being the difference in the game.
Jose Peraza left tonight’s game in the middle of the fifth inning. There is no word on if he is injured or if he was pulled for other reasons. Ronald Torreyes, called up just this morning, replaced Peraza at second base. Torreyes made a few good plays on chopped ground balls in the sixth. He then connected for his first major league hit, a double down the left-field line, in the seventh. Torreyes looked pretty quick on the basepaths, which makes it a bit surprising that he only managed to steal five bases in the minors this year.
The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the western division is now down to 13. After today’s win and series win, the Dodgers will finally return home tomorrow. Clayton Kershaw will face Rockie rookie Jon Gray at 7:10 PDT.