June 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) pitches during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke and Dodgers Look to Take Rubber Game vs. Bucs

Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.68) vs. Gerrit Cole (1-0, 2.84)

Dodgers Lineup:

Schumaker 7
Punto 4
Gonzalez 3
Puig 9
Ethier 8
Uribe 5
Federowicz 2
Cruz 5
Greinke 1

The Dodgers somehow came back to win game two in eleven innings even though the bullpen did its best to destroy any lead obtained. This time Kenley Jansen was the reliever who blew the save in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Dodgers had to scramble back in order to retake the lead in the eleventh. Brandon League finished the game by narrowly avoiding disaster in the bottom of the eleventh for his 14th save. Yet is was the heroics of Andre Ethier and his three hits, Skip Schumaker and his fabulous theft of Russell Martin‘s for sure three-run homerun, and Juan Uribe‘s RBI single which gave the Dodgers the edge this time.

 

A.J. Ellis scores during the Dodgers win on Saturday at PNC Park. Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw, who is reportedly close to signing a big contract extension with the Dodgers, once again wasn’t awarded the win in the no decision. In fact Kersh hasn’t won since May 20th thanks to the Dodgers lackadaisical offense. Kersh is now 5-4 with a 1.84 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings pitched. The way the Dodgers have been scoring, Kershaw will finish the season with a 11-11 record! Although win-loss records are pretty much meaningless when used to show the reality of a pitcher’s worth, it could be detrimental when awards are handed out at the end of the season. The Dodgers poor run support most likely already cost Kershaw the Cy Young in 2012.

Zack Greinke will go to the mound on Sunday in hopes of continuing his upwards momentum. The right-hander has pitched well in his last two starts, and last time out against Arizona Greinke allowed just 2 runs on 2 hits over 7 innings of work. Greinke has only allowed 2 runs and 6 hits in his last two starts which have each been 7 innings strong. Greinke faced Pittsburgh back on April 5h, prior to his collarbone injury, and he won after allowing only two hits over 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Greinke is 5-1 with a 4.85 ERA versus Pittsburgh over his career. He’ll have to watch out for Neil Walker who has hit homeruns against Zack a couple of times in the past. Greinke has started twice at PNC Park, and his record is 1-1 with a 6.39 ERA in 12 2/3 innings pitched there. Greinke was fined for his involvement in the brawl with the D-backs, and this will be his first start since he was hit by Ian Kennedy during all the drama.

Pittsburgh has yet another rookie pitcher to throw at the Dodgers. Gerrit Cole made his MLB debut last Tuesday night

Gerrit Cole makes his second big league start versus Dodgers. Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

against the Giants. The righty allowed 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 strikeouts and no walks in the win in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Cole is a Southern California native from Orange, CA who played three years for UCLA before being drafted in the first round by the Pirates in 2011.

The Dodgers need to take the series in Pittsburgh before they head to New York. The offense is sputtering with life sometimes, but the Dodgers bullpen continues to struggle. Kenley Jansen isn’t perfect, and he has blown saves in the past. They all have. Relief pitching is so touch and go. Jansen is still the best pitcher we have out of the bullpen, and I’m still more confident with him than Brandon League. I would rather see Paco Rodriguez in the eighth inning and Jansen in the ninth for now.

Don Mattingly‘s decision to throw Chris Withrow into the fire in game two for the eighth inning was very surprising. Although Withrow throws hard, he is still not ready to be placed in that high leverage of a situation. Perhaps Mattingly sees Withrow as the potential set-up guy, but I think it was too soon.

Andre Ethier collected three hits in Saturday’s game, and he seems to be looking a bit like his older self of late. Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto have filled in for various roles admirably. I never thought either would be playing as much as they have, but after Schumaker’s game-saving catch on that Russell Martin fly ball I’m okay with Skip and Shredder.

The Dodgers are 4-1 against the Pirates this season. Prime Ticket will air the game at 10:35.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

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Tags: Gerrit Cole Los Angeles Dodgers Pittsburgh Pirates Zack Greinke