But what makes Greinke unique isn't just his mound dominance, lowering his ERA to a minuscule 1.59 on September 1. It was a moment while batting during the sixth inning, facing San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner. After a 3-2 foul ball, Greinke smelled his bat.
game update pic.twitter.com/IA70ctWyvu— Lana Berry (@Lana) September 2, 2015
"I've seen some hitters do it, so I always try to remember to do it when I foul a ball off," Greinke said. "But I've never smelled anything. But I'm still trying to."
On the mound Greinke was smelling like roses, allowing only two hits through seven scoreless innings, and with 106 pitches already on his ledger it seemed reasonable that Greinke's night might be done. But he remained in the game to start the eighth.
"He said he felt great, and I could tell in his voice he felt good. ... He was throwing the ball good and he felt good. Usually you want to leave him in there," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's pretty honest with you. When he's done he'll say 'I've got nothing, I'm out of gas.'"
The only thing bothering Greinke during the game was a hole on the mound that grew too large, affecting his ankle while pushing off in his delivery. But after conferring with trainer Stan Conte, Greinke remained in the game,up 2-0.
After getting a quick out, three straight singles ended Greinke's night, and cut the lead to 2-1.
"I felt good, but they were hitting line drives everywhere, so maybe I wasn't as good as I thought," Greinke quipped.
With reliever Juan Nicasio warming up in the bullpen to face on-deck hitter Buster Posey, lefty Luis Avilan got Brandon Belt to ground into a stellar 4-6-3 double play started by rookie Jose Peraza (Mattingly calls him "Hosey" because that's how baseball nicknames work) to end the inning.
"That was probably the best play of the game at the most important time of the game," Greinke said of Peraza's play.
The result was another win for the Dodgers, and another win for Greinke, his 15th of the season to go with his 1.59 ERA, over a half-run better than Jake Arrieta, who pitched a no-hitter just two nights ago from the very same mound.
Well, not the very same mound, since the Dodgers dug up Sunday's mound and sent it to Arrieta as a keepsake.
But that fiendish ploy by Arrieta to sabotage Greinke's home mound won't sway at least one National League Cy Young Award voter this season.
I have NL Cy Young this year. I like the challenge of voting for awards when winner isn't clear-cut. So thanks for nothing, Zack Greinke.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 2, 2015
The Dodgers go for a sweep of the Giants with Clayton Kershaw on the mound in the series finale on Wednesday night. Mike Leake starts for San Francisco.