LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke already has one Cy Young Award to his credit, capturing the 2009 American League honor with the Royals. Six years later, he leads the majors in ERA and WHIP, finishing 19-3 in his third year with the Dodgers.
Greinke compared the two seasons.
"Last time I was more dominating, in 2009. This year, it was the whole team. There were hardly any errors behind me all season," Greinke said. "For the most part, we've made the plays without making mistakes."
Greinke finished with a 1.66 ERA, allowing only 41 earned runs in his 32 starts, but also allowed just two unearned runs all year, thanks to a good defense behind him. If there were no unearned runs and only runs allowed, Greinke's RA would be 1.74 (Jake Arrieta's would be 2.04, in case you were wondering).
Greinke struck out 200 batters on the nose this season, 23.7 percent of his batters faced. He struck out 242 with the Royals in 2009, a 26.4-percent rate.
"This year I haven't really paid much attention to strikeouts at all. In years past, it would have been a bigger deal," Greinke said. "I'm just trying to get outs. That's all I was paying attention to."
"[ERA titles and strikeouts] aren't the things that Zack worries about," manager Don Mattingly said. "For him it's about making pitches and executing his game plan. Those are the kinds of things that are important to him."
What a relief
Kenley Jansen recorded the save with a scoreless ninth inning, and when he struck out Yangervis Solarte to open the frame it was Jansen's 80th strikeout of the year, against only eight walks.
It's hard to judge anything based on one game, but Yasiel Puig if anything in his first game back never really got up to full speed, which is probably to be expected after missing 34 games with a left hamstring strain, something that wasn't bothering him on Saturday.
"He's saying no. The only thing we can do is trust the player when he says he's 100 percent," Mattingly said. "We didn't really see him at full speed tonight."
Puig was 1-for-3, and had one of the Dodgers' five hits on the night. He won't start on Sunday, but will probably enter at some point during the game. Again, it's hard to judge anything off of just one game, but Puig would have to improve quite a bit over the next six days to return to any sort of regular role for the NLDS.
"He looked like a guy who hasn't played that much," Mattingly said. "He got a hit, and we didn't get many. Today was about facing live pitching."
The Dodgers now have home field advantage in the NLDS, meaning they won't have to travel until next Sunday, Oct. 11.
"As much as anything, to know where our travel is going to be, with a lot of things going on that we don't know," Mattingly said. "It just solidifies some of the variables and simplifies things."
Greinke, who finished his season 10-1 with a 1.46 ERA at Dodger Stadium, weighed in as well.
"It's not the deciding factor. I don't know if it's the NFL or NBA where it's a huge, huge deal, but it helps," he said. "Pitching at home is a little bit more comfortable. But I felt good pitching in New York also. It's a pretty nice park to be in, and a pretty comfortable place to pitch in."
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound in Sunday's regular season finale, needing six strikeouts to become the first major league pitcher with 300 strikeouts in a season since 2002. Frank Garces will start for the Padres.
A player will likely manage Sunday's game, though Mattingly didn't say who it would be.
"It will depend on who plays," Mattingly said.
Greinke had no interest in managing, and when asked who his candidate to manage Sunday, he only said, "Donnie."