After two very memorable starts from Josh Beckett and Hyun-jin Ryu on Sunday and Monday, Zack Greinke will be on the mound on Tuesday looking to continue his 22-outing streak of allowing 2 earned runs or less. Ryu’s seven perfect innings was a truly great performance, but it just highlighted the rare nuance of a no-hitter and just how difficult it is to come by. Josh Beckett’s no-hitter on May 25, 2014 will forever be engrained into my memory much like Hideo Nomo‘s no-no in 1996 in Colorado and Ramon Martinez‘s no-hitter in 1995. Before that, I do remember Fernando Valenzuela‘s popularity and his no-hitter back in 1990 along with Kevin Gross‘s gem in 1992, but the memories don’t go far back enough to remember Jerry Reuss‘s no-hitter in 1980 when I was one-year old.
Josh Beckett’s no-hitter was extra special to me, because I got to watch it with my two daughters. My seven-year old daughter got to see her first Dodger no-hitter, and we watched Beckett dominate as I mentioned a few of those other special games including Sandy Koufax‘s legacy to her while the outs added up for Beckett. I’ve never been lucky enough to see a no-hitter in person, but on May 25, 2014, the special moment, albeit a very nervous time in the ninth inning as I was literally shaking with anticipation, will be one to cherish as a Dodger fan.
Zack Greinke (7-1, 2.01) vs. Alfredo Simon (6-2, 2.31)
The Dodgers are relentless when it comes to their starting pitching, and Cincinnati will have to counter yet another ace on Tuesday with Zack Greinke. Greinke has been fantastic this season, and he is well on his way to vying for a Cy Young Award if he keeps up his brilliant pitching for the rest of the season. Greinke has not lost a game at home this season. The Dodgers lost his last start, but Greinke wasn’t involved in the decision after going 5 innings and allowing 3 runs on 4 hits with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks. Greinke has a career record of 4-1 with a 2.62 ERA against the Reds in 8 starts. Ironically, Skip Schumaker, the former Dodger, hits Greinke very well and has a .294 batting average against the right-hander with 5 hits in 17 at-bats.
The huge right-hander, Alfredo Simon, will be on the mound for Cincinnati. The 33-year old Dominican has won his last two starts, and last time out against Washington, he only allowed 1 run on 5 hits over 7 innings of work. He’s only appeared in 2 games (2 1/3 innings) against the Dodgers in his career which was in relief. He has no record against the Dodgers and has a 3.86 ERA in those two short appearances against Los Angeles. Not many of the current Dodgers have faced Simon in the past. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Hanley Ramirez each have one hit against him. Simon has only allowed one run over his last two starts, and with Mat Latos injured, Simon is pitching admirably for Cincinnati earning him a potential permanent spot in the Reds’ rotation.
The Dodgers sit in second place in the N.L. West and are 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants who have already won 32 games going into
Tuesday night’s schedule. The Dodgers have won 2 in a row while the Giants lost on Memorial Day. With the Dodgers’ superb starting pitching, shored up defense in center field and at shortstop with Erisbel Arruebarrena able to give hurting Hanley a rest, and some timely hitting, the Dodgers could begin a winning streak which could lead to a closer placing at the top of the western standings.
Justin Turner has really played well at third with Juan Uribe out and Erisbel has been flashing his glove at short. Like last season when “B” players like Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker were integral to the Dodgers’ success when they filled in when the injuries hit, the Dodgers’ bench this season is just as important. It’s hard to imagine being able to win without Juan Uribe, Hanley Ramirez, A.J. Ellis, and to an extent an able Matt Kemp, but the Dodgers aren’t letting the inevitable injuries sink them too much. With their legacy of excellent pitching, this Dodgers’ team is still a contender.
The bullpen of course is another story. When we saw the bullpen come in to a game for the first time since Saturday, Brian Wilson once again struggled. The bullpen is now becoming the Dodgers’ weakest part even surpassing the defense. The starting pitchers cannot pitch no-hitters and complete games every day. The bullpen at some point is going to have to be revamped or all of these beautiful starts from the Dodger rotation will be for naught.
Prediction: Adrian Gonzalez breaks out of his slump in a big way.
Come back here to LL for all our daily recaps and analysis. Will Beckett’s no-hitter be the turning point for the Dodgers? They haven’t lost a game since!