There was a time not too long ago that “Bad Zack Greinke” existed, like other pitchers prone to bipolar performances.
In May, Greinke made three starts for the Dodgers and pitched no more than 5 ⅓ innings in each.
In June, Greinke allowed at least four runs and eight hits in half his starts.
Since July 8, however, he’s been Good Greinke — 6-1 with a 1.41 earned-run average, the lowest ERA in the majors in that span. In his latest gem on Wednesday, the right-hander pitched eight innings, allowed six hits, walked none and struck out seven against the Miami Marlins. Greinke probably could have pitched the ninth inning too after throwing just 99 pitches; instead Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless frame for his 21st save of the season.
It was the type of convincing win the Dodgers had conditioned fans to expect since going on their historic run 54 games ago. Their starting pitchers have a league-low 3.16 ERA, which is remarkable when you recall the earlier misadventures of Matt Magill, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly and Bad Greinke. Lately the starters have made games boring, making heroic efforts like Yasiel Puig’s on Tuesday fun but usually unnecessary.
Giancarlo Stanton homered to left field in the first inning, but that’s all the Marlins got off Greinke. A three-run fourth inning by the Dodgers against former teammate Nathan Eovaldi gave the Dodgers the lead for good at 3-1. A bunt and a sacrifice fly led to an ultimately useless insurance run for the Dodgers in the eighth inning, an appropriate ending to a fairly typical Dodger win.
A few more notes:
• The box score is here.
• The Marlins committed three errors in the game and have six in the series.
• Tomorrow’s game begins at 9:40 a.m. local time — set your alarms — and you figure the lineup won’t look the same. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters before the game that Juan Uribe will play. Clayton Kershaw will too.
• Stanton has an eight-game hitting streak and home runs in three of his last five games. He also knows the chorus to Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies.”