Greinke, Kendrick haunt former team
Dodgers ace dominate Angels, except for Trout
LOS ANGELES -- The Streak is gone, but the magic remains.
Zack Greinke left his consecutive innings streak in New York, at 45 2/3, last week, but the Dodgers' co-ace continued to rack up impressive numbers Friday night against the Angels, with whom he spent a little less than half of the 2012 season.
Putting his best stuff on display yet again, Greinke prevailed, 5-3, in front of 53,380 at Dodger Stadium -- in spite of Mike Trout's best efforts to bring him down to earth.
"My stuff was pretty sharp," said the always understated Greinke. "That was the main thing. I had a pretty good slider and OK command. Just one hit on the slider; Trout got a hit on it. That was impressive."
Greinke moved to 10-2 behind homers by another former Angel, Howie Kendrick, and Alex Guerrero off Hector Santiago. Greinke watched his ERA rise from 1.37 to 1.41, allowing six baserunners across eight innings. If not for the presence of No. 27 in red, Zack probably would have sailed through nine with a shutout.
Trout, Greinke noted, has had great success against the game's best, including the Mariners' Felix Hernandez.
"He does that to everyone," Greinke said. "I saw it against Felix. We're sort of similar, so he probably has a decent plan against us. I think he was 20-for-50 against Felix with a couple of homers."
Trout tripled home a run in the fourth inning and singled home another in the sixth. That was all the Angels could do with Greinke, who has a deep bag of weapons and fills up every corner of the strike zone.
Albert Pujols had a rough night behind Trout, striking out three times and leaving a runner at third with a one-out popup. But he still had a presence, in Greinke's mind.
"If someone wasn't as elite as Albert behind him," Greinke said, "you'd pitch around [Trout] and not throw him as many strikes. Trout and Albert are two of the best hitters in the game. It doesn't get much better than those two."
Trout wasn't done bashing away after Greinke departed, crushing a solo homer off Kenley Jansen in the ninth before the closer finished it off.
"When someone is that good and has that few holes," Greinke said of Trout, the unanimous 2014 American League Most Valuable Player Award winner, "the best plan is to not show him something he's already seen."
But there's only so much ammunition even the best of pitchers have. Eventually, Trout tends to find something he can handle.
"Usually I try to get ahead of him," Greinke said, "but I got behind him every time."
There has been little doubt in Greinke's mind about Trout's status as the game's premier all-around player since they became teammates in Anaheim at midseason 2012 following a swap with the Brewers.
"He's been the best player overall for a while," Greinke said, expressing a deep appreciation of Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt as well. "Harper and Goldschmidt are also great players, but when you look at Trout in center field ... he just does so much."
Greinke got to know Trout while making 13 starts for those 2012 Angels, going 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA. Signing a free-agent deal with the Dodgers, he embarked on a course that has his record at 42-14 -- an improbable .750 winning percentage -- with a 2.33 ERA.
Contractually free to opt out after the season, Greinke, turning 32 on Oct. 21, might command a free-agent bid in the neighborhood of Clayton Kershaw's seven-year, $215 million deal.
Kershaw, whose start was pushed back as he recovers from a hip ailment, gets his shot at Trout and Co. on Saturday afternoon.
The Dodgers deepened their rotation with Thursday's mega-swap involving the Braves and Marlins, adding Mat Latos and Alex Wood in support of Kershaw, Greinke and Brett Anderson. But this is a team that will go as far as the twin aces can take it.
Greinke on this occasion seemed most impressed with what Kendrick had done, handing him a first-inning lead with his blast to left center.
"Howie played a long time [nine years] with that organization," Greinke said, "and [Mike Scioscia] was the only manager he had before coming here. So I think it's a little better than normal for him to do something like that."
There is nothing normal about what Greinke is doing these days.