Dodgers-Braves NLDS Game 2 X-Factor: Zack Greinke
After a dominating performance by Cy Young award front runner Clayton Kershaw Game 1 last night, the Dodgers look to build on that momentum with another superb pitching performance this afternoon.
Taking the mound this afternoon for Game 2 will be Zack Greinke and it’ll be up to him to try and match Kershaw’s performance in hopes of putting the Dodgers up 2-0 in the series. A viable Cy Young candidate if it weren’t for Kershaw, Greinke doesn’t look like the X-Factor type, but his past postseason failures make him today’s choice.
Greinke (15-4) and Minor faced off once already in Greinke’s only start against Atlanta and the right-hander got the best of him. The Dodgers number two starter went seven innings, allowing only four hits in a 5-0 victory June 6. Greinke yielded only one extra-base hit to the Braves, allowing a double to Ramiro Pena and struck out seven Braves.
It’s been a great first season as a Dodger for Greinke as he posted a 2.63 ERA with 148 strikeouts and in 12 starts since July 30, has been nearly unhittable with a 1.58 ERA. In those 12 starts, Greinke has allowed two runs or fewer in each and the Dodgers are 10-2.
In his last 10 road starts, Greinke is undefeated with a 7-0 record and a 1.95 ERA, so there’s a good chance the Dodgers come back home with one game left to take the series.
After striking out 15 times last night, the task doesn’t get much easier for the Braves as Greinke is averaging 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings. While Greinke doesn’t need to strike out 12, a solid performance in his first playoff game since 2011 should make it a happy flight back to LA.
In case you missed it, find out more about Andre Ethier’s ankle/shin injury.