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Zack Greinke and avoiding the big inning

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Zack Greinke continues to set himself up for a large payday this offseason, and starts the middle game of the Dodgers' series against the Padres in San Diego on Saturday night. Part of his success so far in 2015 has been limiting the big inning.

Greinke is 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA so far this season, and has allowed more than one run in only three of his 12 starts. Greinke has started 83 different innings this season, and has allowed multiple runs in just four of them, never more than two runs in a single inning.

By comparison, Clayton Kershaw has allowed multiple runs in 10 of his 90 innings started in 2015, including a five-run inning.

Part of Greinke's success might be luck, as his FIP on the season is 3.05, which is still excellent but not 1.92-level great. With runners in scoring position, Greinke is holding batters to just .174/.264/.304, fueled partially by a .207 batting average on balls in play. But Greinke has also struck out 16 of 54 batters in those cases, a strikeout rate (29.6 percent) much better than his overall rate (21.9 percent) on the season.

Greinke against the Padres has never allowed more than one run in any single inning, allowing 11 total runs in 10 starts. He's 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA against the Padres, with 60 strikeouts and 14 walks in 64⅔ innings.

Saturday marks the 11th time Kershaw and Greinke will have started back-to-back games for the Dodgers this season. The club has split those two games eight times, and won both twice.

Ian Kennedy starts for the Padres, the third time he and Greinke will have matched up since the huge brawl on June 11, 2013 between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

Both encounters since have been one-run games at Petco Park — a 3-2 Dodgers win on April 1, 2014, and a 2-1 Padres win on Aug. 30, 2014.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network