LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke ended his first half with a bang, with eight more scoreless innings on Thursday night against the Phillies, and has a strong case to start on the mound for the National League in the 2015 All-Star Game on Tuesday in Cincinnati.
Not that it matters much to Greinke.
"Scherzer pitching the last day increases those odds," Greinke said Thursday.
The Nationals were rained out on Wednesday, and haven't yet decided their weekend rotation. Max Scherzer was originally slated to start on Sunday, which would have made him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game. But the rainout gives Washington some flexibility.
Both Greinke and Schezer have pitched 123⅓ innings this season, and Scherzer (474) has faced eight more batters than Greinke (466). Greinke (18) has made one more start than Scherzer (17).
Greinke is 8-2 with a 1.39 ERA, a 2.65 FIP, 3.18 xFIP, 106 strikeouts, 20 walks, and a .843 WHIP.
Scherzer is 9-7 with a 2.12 ERA, a 2.04 FIP, 2.86 xFIP, 143 strikeouts, 14 walks, and a .803 WHIP.
Greinke has the lowest pre-break ERA since 1968, the Year of the Pitcher after which the mound was lowered. Scherzer has a no-hitter, and an insane three-start stretch that saw him take a perfect game deep into the contest.
"It's pretty hard to be better than [Greinke] is right now. I know Max Scherzer's been really good, so that's with all due respect," manager Don Mattingly said. "But that's my guy."
Greinke would be lined up to start Tuesday on regular rest in the All-Star Game, if that factors into the consideration. It probably doesn't factor much since we are talking about one-inning outings, maybe two at most.
But starting Tuesday isn't something that moves the needle for Greinke.
"My family might be excited by it. It doesn’t mean much to me," Greinke said.
"I don’t pay attention to any of that this year, not for awhile, I guess. Since I’ve been in L.A., I haven’t paid much attention to that kind of stuff," Greinke said. "You get a good contract like that, you don’t have to worry about anything but making good pitches. The rest will take care of itself."
The last Dodgers pitcher to start an All-Star Game was Brad Penny in 2006.
Both All-Star starting pitchers pitched only one inning in 2014, though the starter often pitches two innings. Greinke did acknowledge the possibility of starting Tuesday, and how it might affect when he starts next for the Dodgers.
"If it was two innings, I probably wouldn't pitch the first day I don't think," Greinke said. "But after that I would be good."
The Dodgers haven't yet announced their post-break starting rotation. They open their "second half" on Friday, July 17 in Washington D.C. against the Nationals.