Zack Greinke: The Snake Charmer

Dodgers  6 17 0Dbacks    1 4 1WP-Greinke-7-2LP-Delgado-1-3

The Dodgers entered play tonight having won 12 of their last 15 games. As the club prepared for a crucial three game series against first place Arizona at Chase Field, the team received a double dose of bad news.

Matt Kemp had tried to take batting practice, but was still in pain. So the Dodgers decided to place him on the disabled list and send him home to see the medical team. The Dodgers also had to place pitcher Stephen Fife on the DL with shoulder bursitis. The Dodgers recalled Scott Van Slyke, and activated Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco will pitch tomorrow night, and Capuano will pitch on Thursday in Fife’s spot. That’s two players, and two bad shoulders. When it rains it pours right?

So with that double dosage of depressing news, we wish Bison and Fife both speedy recoveries, but the game must go on. With the Dodges trending upwards the last couple of weeks, they entered play sitting in sole possession of second place. But the last true test would be the Arizona Dbacks. The team that has been the thorn in the Dodger’s side, literally. The Dodgers have lost seven of nine this year to the Dbacks, and the two teams have not faced each other since their brawl back in May. Of course ironically enough, or however you want to look at it, that game involved tonight’s Dodger starter Zack Greinke.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zach Greinke throws in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.- Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With this being the last series against the Snakes until September, these next three games are very important.  So tonight Greinke battled young right hander Randall Delgado in what we considered a must win game for the Dodgers. (I know, must win in July? Rubbish you say!). But it’s true, and the Dodgers played with urgency and passion, while the Snakes looked a bit flat.

Greinke may be a bird, but he showed he has no problem charming snakes. His brilliant performance earned him his seventh win of the season. Greinke kept those pesky snakes in the grass tonight with seven dominant frames. He allowed no runs, and only two hits, while whiffing seven and walking two. Greinke had never beaten the Snakes in his career, as a matter of fact, they were the only team he had yet to beat. So Greinke gets that nice little monkey off his back. Metaphorically speaking. Not only did Greinke dominate on the mound, but he also had a great game with the stick. He went 3 for 3 with 3 singles, and a run scored.

Not like the Dodger offense needed him tonight. The Dodgers used a singlepalooza, and an avalanche of hits, as Vin called it to beat the snakes on their own turf. 16 of the Dodger’s 17 hits were of the single variety. The Dodgers used a well balanced attack as five hitters had two hits or more in the lineup (Puig, Hanley, Ethier, Uribe, and Greinke). The Dodgers scored one run in the fourth on three singles, (run scoring hit from Uribe), two runs on four singles in the fifth inning, (Hanley and Gonzo run scoring singles), two more runs in the seventh frame, and another run in the ninth on consecutive singles from Gonzo, Hanley, and Ethier, and an RBI grounder from A.J. (RBI double from Ethier, and an RBI single from A.J.). Hanley had three more hits to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. He is just blazing hot! The Dodgers beat the Snakes in game one by a score of 6-0. Tired of the snakes? So are we. Enjoy the highlights Dodger fans! Here’s how the game played out……

Birdman dominated the Snakes tonight to earn his seventh win- Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Delgado retires the Dodgers in the top of the first. Carl Crawford on a whiff. Yasiel Puig does single, but Adrian Gonzalez fouls out, and then Hanley Ramirez’s fly ball ends the inning. Greinke disposes of the Snakes in order in the bottom half of the first. Gerardo Parra whiffs. Aaron Hill a fly out to right, and our new nemesis, Pual Goldschmidt goes down on strikes as well, and we’re scoreless after one.

Delgado sets the Dodgers down in order again in the second frame. Greinke does the same in the bottom half. That half frame features whiffs of Eric Chavez, and Martin Prado. The third and fourth whiffs for Greinke. The Dodgers waste a lead-off Mark Ellis single in the top of the third. After Ellis is aboard, Greinke advances him to second on a sacrifice. But Crawford grounds out, and Puig fouls out.

Greinke almost loses it in the bottom half of the third. Lead-off walks to Jason Kubel, and Didi Gregorius put runners at first and second. Delgado’s sacrifice attempt turns into a 1-05 force out at third. Uribe handling a high throw from Greinke. Greinke gets out of it by whiffing Parra, and getting Aaron Hill to ground to third, as Uribe falls onto the third base bag for the third out.

The Dodgers threaten and take the lead in the top of the fourth. Hanley extends his hitting streak to 19 games with a single. Ethier also singles to left, and with runners at first and second, A.J. flies out for the second out. Uribe strokes a single over short to score Hanley, and the Dodgers take the lead 1-0.

Puig’s star continues to rise-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Goldschmidt’s lead-off single in the bottom of the fourth, is erased on Chavez’s double play. The Dodgers get through the fourth with their 1-0 lead intact.

Birdman singles to lead off the top of the fifth. Crawford pops out. Puig and Gonzalez with back-to-back singles to score Greinke. The Dodgers lead 2-0. Hanley’s pop fly single to right scores Puig to put the Dodgers up by a score of 3-0. Although note Hanley gets thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw, which was cut off. Ethier’s grounder ends the frame, the Dodgers leave Gonzo at third, but have given Greinke a 3-0 lead.

Greinke retires the Dbacks in order again in the bottom of the fifth. He whiffs Miguel Montero for his sixth whiff of the game. The score is 3-0 Dodgers after five frames.

Yasiel Puig

We are sick of these Snakes too Sam

The Dodgers strand Uribe and Greinke after singles in the top of the sixth. Greinke works another 123 frame in the bottom of the sixth. He whiffs A.J. Pollack, who was pinch-hitting for Delgado. Parra a long fly out to center. Hill flies out to center.

Rookie right hander Carl Brewer enters the game to relieve Delgado in the top of the seventh. Delgado goes six frames, allowing three runs on 11 hits, and whiffed three. Brewer allows a one-out walk to Gonzo. Hanley pops out, but Ethier doubles into right, as Kubel bumbles the ball. Gonzo chugs in to score, the Dodgers extend their lead to 4-0. A.J. singles to right to score Ethier, plating the Dodgers their fifth run.

Greinke takes the mound in the bottom of the seventh. He retires Goldschmidt on a ground out. Chavez a long fly out to center. Prado’s two-out double is meaningless, as Greinke retires Montero on a long drive to left.

Move to the bottom of the eighth, with the Dodgers still leading 5-0, Paco Rodriguez takes over on the mound for Greinke and the Dodgers. Paco whiffs Kubel. Gregorius flies out to center. Former Dodger Cody Ross whiffs to end the eighth.

The Dodgers plate another run on three consecutive hits from Gonzo, Hanley, and Ethier to load the bases against Will Harris. An A.J. ground out scores the sixth run for the boys in blue.

Move to the bottom of the ninth. Enter fireballer Jose Dominguez. Parra grounds out to first. Hill a fly out. Goldschmidt singles to keep the Snakes alive. Chavez’s double scores Goldschmidt to give the Snakes a meaningless run. Finally Prado flies out to Ethier and the Dodgers win 6-1!

The Dodgers keep winning! They now improve to 43-45 and are only two games under .500. They’ve won 13 of their last 16 games. Don’t miss out tomorrow night, as Ricky Nolasco will make his Dodger Debut as he counters Arizona’s Ian Kennedy. The Dodgers go for a crucial series win as Game two will begin at 6:40 PM.