Lack of run support stings Greinke again
Dodgers pitcher's mistake pitch to Upton magnified by lack of offense
SAN DIEGO -- Zack Greinke made a mistake to Justin Upton, whose career has been made hitting mistakes 400 feet, and the Dodgers lost to the Padres Saturday night, snapping a four-game win streak.
But more telling than the one hanging slider that Greinke threw, was the lone run the Dodgers scored in this 2-1 loss. Former Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal homered, and that was the entire offense against Ian Kennedy, who has never been a Dodgers killer and came into this game with a 6.48 ERA, 4 1/2 runs higher than Greinke's.
Kennedy was 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season and 0-7 with a 5.48 ERA in 11 starts against them dating back to the beginning of 2013. But, other than Grandal's home run, the offense had only four more hits and nobody advanced past first base.
"We got into decent counts, but just weren't able to do anything," said manager Don Mattingly.
Greinke threw an eight-inning complete-game loss because his offense gave him no margin for error, and Greinke committed two of them. In addition to the pitch to Upton, Greinke made a rare (two in five years) throwing error in the first inning after fielding a swinging bunt by former teammate Matt Kemp, who was traded for Grandal.
Will Venable was on third base with two outs when Greinke fielded Kemp's tapper and threw in the dirt past first base.
"I had a play at the plate, but thought first was easier," he said. "I didn't get my feet set and made a bad throw. I should have made the plate. I didn't do it properly."
Same story with the fat 3-2 slider he hung to Upton with two out in the bottom of the eighth, trying to double-up after throwing a perfect 3-1 slider. Compounding the home run was that on deck was Kemp, who has only two home runs, to Upton's 13, this year.
Mattingly said he was fine having Greinke pitch to Upton. Grandal said he and Greinke talked about pitching around Upton when behind in the count 3-1, knowing that Upton came into the game batting .391 lifetime against Greinke, but he was 0-for-3 coming into the at-bat.
"He just threw it to the one spot, and guys like that don't miss that kind of pitch," Grandal said.
Greinke said he was just "trying to make a really good pitch, because Matt is really dangerous too. I didn't want to throw the ball down the middle of the plate. You never do, but more so then. It was the first bad slider I threw all day."
Except for a loss at Coors Field June 2, Greinke has made quality starts every time out. His ERA is a Kershaw-like 1.95, but he's winless since May 5, seven starts. Again excluding the Coors Field game, the Dodgers offense has scored 13 runs in six starts.
"The first six years of my career was worse than that," he said of the current run support. "You just do what you can do."
It was Greinke's first career loss (5-1) against the Padres and only his third loss (22-3) within the division since joining the Dodgers.