Dodgers-Giants: We Need 8 Innings, Zack Greinke


David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I want to forget about last night. You want to forget about last night. It was bad. Full of bad baseball, bad fundamentals, bad defense, lots of bad things. What’s the best way to forget about bad baseball? Remember that the Dodgers magic number sits at merely 3. They find themselves in a similarly good position here going forward, all the pressure on the Giants. The Giants needing to sweep to keep themselves in the race. So it’s a good time to throw out the best pitching matchup we’ll see for the remainder of the regular season: Zack Greinke vs Madison Bumgarner.

Greinke has been so good, having arguably his best season since his magical 2009 season, all Zack’s done is put up an ERA sitting at a shiny 2.76, supported by a FIP and xFIP of 2.99 and 2.73 respectively. Couple that with 189 innings, and you have yourself one of the top 15-20 pitchers in all of baseball. He’s struck guys out, 9.32 per 9 (3rd best of his career), walked only 2.00 per 9 (tied for his best minimum 150 IP). He’s not Clayton Kershaw, but you can’t underrate what he’s been able to do.

He’s averaged 6.3 innings per start, which is nothing to sneeze at, but the Dodgers are going to need something more. Dan Haren threw 7 innings, and it was definitely needed, but even so, the overused bullpen was forced to try to win another game. After some dismal pitching performances in Chicago, the Dodgers could not put the game away, and were forced to use J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert, Brandon League for multiple innings, Daniel Colombe, and the unfortunate Kevin Correia all last night, leaving League, Howell, Colombe, and hopefully Correia out of tonights game.

The hitting has to be better also, I won’t complain because of the offensive showing they put out in Chicago, but Madison Bumgarner has dominated the Dodgers, putting up a 1.75 ERA, and a .221 average against this Dodger team. It wasn’t long ago that he was involved in the beatdown in San Francisco that led many to question the division lead for the Dodgers, but one thing’s certain now. If the Dodgers split these last two games, it’s a victory because the magic number will be 1.

Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Juan Uribe have found their strides, and the offense should be very good going forward.

Clinching versus the Giants? Oh my goodness I hope so. Not getting swept? The most important thing.