Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

The air up there: Zack Greinke nearing outer limits with 43 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

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“Oxygen! We need oxygen here!”

The indomitable Zack Greinke put another eight zeroes on his opponents’ scoreboard today in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory at Washington, extending his streak of consecutive innings without allowing a run to 43 2/3.

Passing the 41-inning streak that Clayton Kershaw had last year, Greinke’s scoreless inning streak is now the third-longest in Los Angeles Dodger history, behind Orel Hershiser’s MLB-record 59 and Don Drysdale’s 58. It’s also the longest streak in the Majors since Hershiser. Bob Gibson (47 innings in 1968) is the only pitcher since 1961 with a longer streak than Greinke’s, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Greinke and Kershaw have combined to pitch 47 innings in July and have allowed one run. That’s a 0.19 ERA.

What else? How much time you got?

  • Greinke lowered his 2015 ERA from 1.39 to 1.30.
  • He ran his streak of consecutive batters retired to 28 in a row — encompassing a hidden perfect game — before allowing a third-inning single to Michael Taylor (whom Greinke soon picked off).
  • Bryce Harper’s walk in the fourth was the first allowed by Greinke pitcher in 22 innings.
  • In striking out a season-high 11 today, Greinke has 42 strikeouts and four walks during his scoreless streak.
  • Greinke has retired 59 of the past 64 batters he has faced.
  • No runner has reached third base against Greinke since the first inning June 23 — a streak of 35 2/3 innings.
  • No runner has reached second base against Greinke since the third inning July 4 — a streak of 20 innings.

Opponents are batting .129 (19 for 147) with a .158 on-base percentage and .150 slugging percentage during Greinke’s 43 2/3-inning scoreless streak, which is detailed right here.

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Greinke needed virtually every bit of his excellence today, because the Dodgers couldn’t drive in a run against Max Scherzer for six innings today. However, thanks to Andre Ethier’s leadoff double in the fourth, the first sacrifice of Yasmani Grandal’s professional career and then, of all things, a Scherzer wild pitch, the Dodgers scratched across what they needed to put Greinke ahead.

Los Angeles did force Scherzer, who allowed seven hits and a walk, to throw 98 pitches in the uncomfortable heat.

Nearly two hours into the game, Greinke had to endure two periods of standing around in the sun. In the bottom of the sixth, Grandal took a foul ball to the mask, and after an examination, had to be replaced by A.J. Ellis. (Grandal, remember, was on the seven-day concussion disabled list a couple of months ago.)

In the top of the seventh, having thrown 81 pitches to that point, Greinke led off with a single off reliever Felipe Rivero. And then the waiting really began.

Greinke bided his time and place on a Joc Pederson fly to right, went to second one out later on an infield single by Howie Kendrick, then third on a bloop single to left by Adrian Gonzalez. Andre Ethier, who had been 2 for 3 against Max Scherzer, struck out, and then Greinke cooled his jets while righty reliever Aaron Barrett came in. When A.J. Ellis struck out to strand the bases loaded, Greinke’s elapsed time out in the open was 15 minutes.

He used the double Sunday stretch shot of “God Bless America” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to catch a break. And amazingly, he came back out not only to pitch a shutout seventh, but a perfect eighth as well, striking out two batters in each inning while wrapping up his season-high 119-pitch outing.  (I don’t think I’d be talking out of school to say that home-plate umpire Bill Miller’s strike zone was on the wide side for both Greinke and Scherzer.)

Greinke’s day was finally done when Justin Turner came up to bat for him in the top of the ninth against Nationals reliever Blake Treinen. Just like that, the scoreboard bottleneck cleared. Turner, Pederson, Ethier, Ellis and Puig (who had struck out his previous four at-bats) each singled, giving the Dodgers 26 singles in their past two games and a four-run inning. J.P. Howell pitched the ninth to wrap up a happy day for Greinke and the Dodgers.


How hot? So hot …


Greinke, Kershaw share NL Player of the Week honors

1 Comment

  1. Had the pleasure of watching these two masters from the stands in DC. I must of lost 5 lbs sweating just sitting there. Don’t know how they do it.

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