Feb 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke to Make Blue Debut as Dodgers Hope to Break Out vs. Bucs

Zack Greinke vs. Jonathan Sanchez

Dodgers Lineup: vs. Pirates

Crawford 7
M.Ellis 4
Kemp 8
Gonzalez 3
Cruz 5
Ethier 9
A.J. Ellis 2
Sellers 6
Greinke 1

After a much needed day off, the Dodgers are handing the ball to their offseason splurge. Zack Greinke, who had been battling some elbow soreness during Spring, will go to the mound Friday night versus the Pirates for the first time as a Dodger. The Dodgers signed Greinke to a six-year $147 million contract last December, and they are hoping that he will be the perfect follow up to Clayton Kershaw in the rotation.

The elbow issue is very worrisome since Greinke only has made two pitching appearances since returning from being shut down in March. Greinke said he felt better, but his statement regarding the elbow issue leaves me apprehensive:

“I still don’t know how it’s going to react. It should be fine. But I guess it could happen again. I don’t know. I can’t predict the future. I guess that’s the best way to say it.”

Luckily for the Dodgers, they still have held on to Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang who have been hanging out in the bullpen but have yet to pitch this season. We could see one of them take over for Greinke since he may not go long on Friday.

Last season with the Brewers and the Angels, the right-hander had a combined record of 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 200 strikeouts over 212 1/3 innings pitched. In his career against Pittsburgh, Greinke is 4-1 with a 5.70 ERA. Clint Barmes has given him the most trouble, and he’s 7-for-11  against him. Andrew McCutchen has only mustered a .200 batting average against Greinke in 15 at-bats.

The Dodgers will face left-hander Jonathan Sanchez who is trying to bounce back after a disastrous 2012 season with the Royals and the Rockies. Last year he went 1-9 with a 8.07 ERA in 15 starts. In his career against the Dodgers, he is 3-6 with a 4.66 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. Matt Kemp has done the best against Sanchez, and he is hitting .344 with a homerun and 8 RBI against the southpaw. Can Sanchez reboot his career with the Bucs?

 

Andrew McCutchen is 4-for-4 in stolen bases this season. Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Greinke and the Dodgers will of course have to watch out for Pittsburgh’s star outfielder Andrew McCutchen who has already stolen four bases in the first three games of the season. The Dodgers have yet to steal a base. We will also see former Dodger Russell Martin who signed with the Pirates this offseason. He went 0-for-10 against the Cubs in their Opening Series and is hitless thus far The Dodgers and Pirates have identical records right now (1-2), but the Dodgers have historically dominated the Pirates. The Boys in Blue are 32-10 against the Bucs at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers need to break out and score some runs during this series with the Pirates. Other than Kershaw’s Opening Day homerun, they have yet to drive in a run with a solid hit. Matt Kemp is still hitless on the season, as is Luis Cruz, and Adrian Gonzalez has a lone hit. Friday’s game versus Sanchez is the perfect opportunity for the Dodgers to connect some hits together and make some solid contact.

Game time is at 7:10 p.m. and it will be televised on Prime Ticket. Please join us after for our postgame recap.

Go Blue!

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