LOS ANGELES -- One Dodgers ace completed his excellent 2013 regular season with a win on Friday night, and another has the chance to do the same on Saturday night, as Zack Greinke takes the hill in the middle game of the series against the Rockies.
Greinke has been everything the Dodgers have hoped for in the first season of his six-year, $147 million contract. He is 16-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 27 starts, and down the stretch he has been unreal. Greinke has allowed 18 runs in his last 15 starts, with a 1.58 ERA during that time.
He has allowed more than two runs just once in those last 15 starts, and that was way back on July 25.
Clayton Kershaw has been remarkable as the Dodgers' No. 1 starter this year with a miniscule 1.83 ERA. Adjusted for park and league, his ERA+ is 195, a figure not unfamiliar to the Dodgers' No. 2 starter.
Greinke posted a 205 ERA+ in 2009 with the Royals, winning the Cy Young at 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA in a much higher run-scoring environment. While peripherally Greinke was stellar in the three seasons since, his ERA was just 3.83, a 106 ERA+.
In 2013 Greinke has a 133 ERA+, and has nestled in quite nicely behind Kershaw, giving the Dodgers the best one-two punch in baseball. Kershaw and Greinke are the reasons manager Don Mattingly doesn't mind opening the NLDS on the road.
"We don't care who we play, and we don't care where it is," Mattingly said on Friday. "It's all about pitching. When we throw Kersh and Greinke out there, we like our chances."
Greinke on the season has faced Colorado three times. He allowed nine runs in 10⅓ innings in two starts at Coors Field, but in his one start against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium he pitched a two-hit shutout, on July 13.
But with Greinke it's more about the mound, as he is having an historic season for the Dodgers at the plate, too. Greinke is hitting .339/.422/.393 this season in 70 plate appearances, the highest on-base percentage by a Dodgers pitcher (minimum 50 PA) in a century.
Earl Yingling put up a .464 OBP in 1913 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a figure Greinke can't top unless he reaches base in 11 consecutive plate appearances. But Greinke, unless he fails to reach base in four plate appearances on Saturday, can settle for being the third Dodgers pitcher ever with a .400 OBP, joining Yingling and Clarence Mitchell (.415 OBP in 1919).
Time: 6:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket