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Preview: Dodgers (80-60) at Diamondbacks (68-73)
Venue: Chase Field
Date: September 13, 2015 4:10 PM EDT
Zack Greinke’s ERA rose to a season-high 1.97 in a mediocre outing June 2. Over three months later, he has a shot to join some elite company: Martinez, Maddux and Clemens.
If the right-hander can keep it going, he’ll become the first qualifying pitcher in 10 years and fourth in the live-ball era to maintain a sub-2.00 ERA for an entire season.
He once struggled with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that changed when he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, who send him to the Chase Field mound Sunday seeking a series win.
Roger Clemens’ ERA never rose above 1.89 in 2005, and he joined Pedro Martinez (1997, 2000) and Greg Maddux (1994) as the only pitchers to have such a season dating to 1920.
Among those, Maddux posted the lowest ERA (1.56) and Martinez never allowed his to go over 1.81 in 2000. Greinke (16-3, 1.68 ERA) could still best Maddux’s ’94 and ’95 (1.63) marks and Dwight Gooden’s 1.53 in ’85 for the best in baseball since the mound was lowered prior to the ’69 season, as well as Rube Marquard’s franchise-record 1.58 in 1916.
Greinke’s road ERA stands at a season-high 1.99 with an 8-2 record in 13 starts, the first of which came over seven shutout innings in Arizona on April 12.
He’s 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA in eight starts against Arizona since joining the Dodgers prior to the 2013 season and has shut down Paul Goldschmidt (4 for 20 with nine strikeouts), Chris Owings and Ender Inciarte (both 0 for 8), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1 for 9 with five Ks).
The 31-year-old labored a little more than usual in Monday’s 7-5 win at the Angels, surrendering three runs and seven hits in six innings, though six runs of support earned him a third straight victory.
“It wasn’t the typical Zack,” manager Don Mattingly told MLB’s official website. “He wasn’t as sharp as he can be, and we didn’t want to push him.”
The Diamondbacks haven’t been pushing Patrick Corbin, and positive results have started to come.
Corbin (5-3, 3.32), who hasn’t thrown more than 91 pitches this season, limited San Francisco to six hits in six scoreless innings of Monday’s 6-1 win for his second straight victory. He’s 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his previous three outings of the 12 he’s made since returning from March 2014 Tommy John surgery.
“I think the biggest thing is trying to recover and make sure the arm is feeling good for the next start,” Corbin said. “Stay on top of that. It feels like I’ve thrown 200 innings already this year. Just being out for 16 months and now getting into it with about 60 innings this year.”
The left-hander hasn’t faced the Dodgers since before the injury, but Andre Ethier (1 for 11 with five strikeouts) and Scott Van Slyke (1 for 8) have struggled with him. Chris Heisey (2 for 4 with two home runs) could find his way into the lineup.
Los Angeles (81-60) evened the series with Saturday’s 9-5 win for its 10th in 14 meetings with Arizona (68-74). The Dodgers have won four of the last six despite the Diamondbacks averaging 6.7 runs and batting .329.
Goldschmidt is batting .407 with 15 RBIs in the season series.
Los Angeles’ Corey Seager was 4 for 4 with his first career home run, and the shortstop is batting .467 in his first nine big league games. Even so, Jimmy Rollins, who has been used as a pinch runner in the series, will get his starting job back upon his return from a sprained finger.