Thursday, May 16, 2013

Greinke Earns Last-Place Dodgers One Win; Press Goes Crazy

Look, I was there last night to see Zack Greinke lead the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Nationals, earning a series victory (and our fourth win in the last five games). That was cool and all, I agree.

But it's funny to read the press today and see the coverage that this is going to turn around the entire season. First, Mark Saxon from

Greinke didn't consider it anything out of the ordinary. In fact, he said he felt he could have pitched two weeks ago, or barely over two weeks after the doctor cut him open, fixed his bone and sewed him back together. It's not as if Greinke doesn't deserve some credit for getting back so quickly, three weeks ahead of schedule. He went about his business in a quiet, grimly determined manner while he was out.

Now, this could be just the jumping-off point.

"I think he'll get stronger and stronger as he goes," Mattingly said. "It's pretty amazing what this guy was able to do tonight."

The Dodgers didn't go 10-19 in Greinke's absence because he wasn't pitching every fifth day. At most, his outings would have gotten them another couple of wins. They'd still be under .500, still be digging to get back to contention.

But Wednesday felt like a mile marker for this Dodgers season. Greinke's return means the Dodgers have, essentially, their Opening Day roster once again. If they continue to flounder, they won't be able to say it's because they're hurt. So, let the evaluation period begin.

Greinke said he started feeling a bit of soreness in the area of his collarbone after an awkward swing in the second inning, but he recovered well enough to stroke an RBI single to right. He said he was nearing exhaustion as his pitch count got into the 70s in the fifth inning, but he got a second wind in the sixth.

In other words, this could just be the trailer for what he can do for the Dodgers' rotation. The movie is still in pre-production, but if Clayton Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu get on a collective roll, it could -- despite early appearances -- have a happy ending.

"We start to see the vision," Mattingly said.

Hmm. Well, maybe I couldn't see the entire "vision," as my view from the third-base seats was obscured by Juan Uribe (both literally as well as figuratively, Uribe going 0-for-3 with a GIDP). And without Hanley Ramirez in the lineup, Dee Gordon continued to try to bunt his way onto base, unsuccessfully (Gordon went 0-for-4). And Scott Van Slyke performed valiantly in left field to rest Carl Crawford, who came in for a sacrifice fly RBI PH.

But okay, maybe this is indeed the start of a turnaround. So echoes Lyle Lyle the Crocodile Spencer of

Zack Greinke came back on Wednesday night, well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken collarbone, and looked like $147 million in a 3-1 decision over the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.

Back sooner than logic suggested, Greinke was good on the mound across 5 1/3 innings and handy with the bat. His opposite-field single cashed in the second run against Ross Detwiler in the second inning after Matt Kemp had doubled and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's two-out single to jump-start Greinke in the first.

"It looked like a textbook win -- the Dodger way to play the game," Carl Crawford, the new left fielder and leadoff catalyst, said in the afterglow.

That's four happy endings in the past five games for manager Don Mattingly and his troupe as they head off to Atlanta and Milwaukee looking to keep a good thing going. That eight-game losing streak is in the rearview mirror, receding in the distance along with the April 11 brawl in San Diego that took Greinke out of the equation for a month.

"Winning definitely helps," Greinke said when asked about the need for a positive chemistry to develop within a club that has not played anywhere close to expectations. "The fact we have a bunch of new guys helps, too. If a team's been together five or six years, it's not as big a deal."

With Clayton Kershaw in front of him and Hyun-Jin Ryu behind him in the rotation, Greinke gives the Dodgers a fair chance to sweep a series, any series.

We must be going to a three-man rotation now, right?

Look, we're still 5.5 GB the Giants, with only the Marlins, Mets, Brewers, and Cubs behind us in the NL. I am excited for Greinke's return and hope that this is a turning point, but I wouldn't start cutting the confetti for that tickertape parade just yet.

photo: AP/Reed Saxon


Paul said...

*throws confetti while streaking*

Hideo Nomo said...

Sad Sax.

Steve Sax said...

I'm not sad! Really!

rbnlaw said...

But the Gnats were humiliated once again last night?

Doesn't that make you happy?


Dusty Baker said...

Someone pee peed in Sax's corn flakes.

Steve Sax said...

I thought that color was just from the Corn Pops I had added.