LOS ANGELES -- Runs should be tough to come by for the Dodgers and Mets in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, with a pair of pitchers coming off wins in their previous starts in the series.
Orel Hershiser will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday night's game, then a few minutes later the author of the longest scoreless streak in MLB history will be followed by the pitcher with the longest streak since Hershiser's 1988 record, in Zack Greinke.
Greinke allowed a pair of solo home runs in his Game 2 victory, but otherwise struck out eight with no walks in seven strong innings. He has lasted seven innings in all three starts against the Mets this season, allowing four total runs.
On July 4 at Dodger Stadium, Greinke pitched seven scoreless innings in a win, the fourth of six straight scoreless starts. Greinke ran his scoreless streak to 45⅔ innings, the longest streak since Hershiser lasted 59 innings in 1988. Greinke's streak was snapped on July 26 at Citi Field, when he allowed two runs in seven frames in a no-decision.
On the other side on that Sunday in New York was Jacob deGrom, who pitched 7⅔ scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, allowing two hits and two walks. The Mets' right-hander was even better on Friday in Game 1, striking out 13 in seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and walk.
After Game 1, manager Don Mattingly thought the Dodgers chased too many high fastballs from deGrom, but otherwise liked the quality of at-bats.
"If he's on and he's throwing the ball where he wants and making pitches, it's going to be a difficult day," Mattingly said Wednesday. "I think personally the more I see a pitcher, the more advantage I have. Now stuff is still stuff, you have to be able to be able to hit it, a 99-mile an hour fastball. So I think I always felt like as a hitter I have a better feel for him. I've seen it. I've rated the speed. I kind of got a feel for what this guy likes to do."
.206/.279/.381 -NLDS offenses for LA & NY, respectively
During Game 1, deGrom averaged 96.69 mph on his four-seam fastball, per Brooks Baseball, thrown in 49 of his 121 pitches, the latter one shy of his career high.
Greinke will likely make adjustments of his own. He threw just 32.7-percent fastballs in Game 2 against the Mets, compared to 45.5 percent in his 32 regular season starts.
"There's a lot of good fastball hitting teams. I feel like, in general, lefties hit fastballs from right-handed pitchers better than right-handers hit fastballs from right-handed pitchers," Greinke explained. "So if you look at how I pitched them last time, I threw more fastballs to their righties and less fastballs to their lefties. And they had more lefties on those teams. So it ends up being more off-speed to that team because of the amount of lefties they have.
"But, you got to probably make somewhat of an adjustment because you can't just keep doing the same thing to a team, or else they'll make the adjustment and get a couple runs and it will be too late. So I have to find a way to mix more fastballs in against them this next time probably."
Greinke with a win on Thursday night would be the first Dodgers pitcher with two wins in the same postseason since Hiroki Kuroda in 2008. The last one with two wins in the same series was Hershiser, in the 1988 World Series.
Game 5 info
Time: 5:07 p.m. PT