Sunday, August 24, 2014

Greinke passes the elbow test

I'm sure there were plenty of nervous people in Dodger Stadium last night, as Zack Greinke and his admittedly "tender elbow" took the mound on seven days' rest.  Any time your $147 million star pitcher says his elbow is sore, there's plenty of reason for concern.

How did he do?  Seven innings and 105 pitches.  And a win for the Dodgers.  I'd say he handled things well.

The Mets did tag Greinke for a couple of homers, but a big five-RBI night by Adrian Gonzalez helped lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 comeback win over the Mets.  After starting out the homestand by dropping three straight to the Brewers, the Dodgers have taken the next four of five from the Padres and Mets.

In other words, they've won the winnable games.  And they now find themselves up 4 1/2 over the Giants in the NL West.

Of the four runs Greinke surrendered, only three were earned, as an error by Miguel Rojas at third on a should-have-been inning ending double play led to a Juan Lagaras three-run jack.  The other blemish was a solo homer by Lucas Duda in the sixth.

Other than that, I really like the way Greinke battled.  I'm sure part of him realized just how much the Dodgers need him right now, as both Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett are on the DL.  He said he was ready to go, and proved it by pitching deep into the game and tossing over 100 pitches.

I thought coming into this game that the Dodgers would be fortunate to get five innings out of him, and there was no way I saw him throwing 100+ pitches.  I was waiting to see someone like Carlos Frias get ready to pitch multiple innings in relief.  I guess that's the pessimistic side of me, because while I read how Greinke said he was good to go, I wasn't so sure.

But, that's a testament to the competitor that Greinke is.  He took the ball, battled like crazy, and came away a winner.  Let's just hope this elbow thing isn't an issue going forward.  Or more specifically, doesn't get any worse, and he can continue to provide good starts.

Other thoughts from the game:

* While it was great to see Greinke pitch well, A-Gon ended up stealing the show.  He hit an RBI single in the fourth, a three-run tater to take the lead for good in the fifth, and chipped in another RBI with a sac-fly in the seventh.  Despite hitting only .185 against lefties, he's second in the NL in RBIs with 88.  And for fun, he even threw in a sick grab at first while sprawled out to finish off a double play.  What a game he had.

* Yasiel Puig took the night off, and it was a good idea.  He's been getting on top of so many balls at the plate lately, leading to a lot of choppers in the infield.  Maybe some rest will get him back to driving the ball.

* Kenley Jansen picked up another save, his 37th, thanks in large part to a great cutter.  When that thing is moving, it's so hard to even make contact with.  Striking out David Wright to end the game was sweet.

* Speaking of Wright, what happened to him?  He looks completely lost, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.  I have to wonder if his best years are already in the past, which would be a shame considering the Mets never put enough talent around him when he was really good.  Seems like a waste.

* The one negative, and it's a BIG negative at that, was Don Mattingly once again inserting Brian Wilson in the eighth.  So, so stupid.  After J.P. Howell got Duda for the first out, Wilson was lucky to get the next out on a hard hit ball to Rojas, then gave up two straight hits.  Wilmer Flores grounded out to end the threat.  It just makes no sense whatsoever to keep putting him in the setup role.  None!  Stop putting him in there for crying out loud!  Geez.

OK, rant aside, the Dodgers have a chance to get the sweep today.  With Ryu will out, Kevin Correia will get the ball again.

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