Coming off perhaps his best start in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform, Zack Greinke will try to extend his club's longest winning streak of the season in the opener of a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Signed to a six-year, $147 million contract this past offseason, Greinke had his first campaign with the Dodgers put on hold for a bit after suffering a broken collarbone in his second start of the season on April 11 in San Diego. He sustained the injury during a benches-clearing brawl after hitting Carlos Quentin with a pitch.
Greinke was out of action for a little over a month, returning to the mound earlier than expected on May 15. He has been up-and-down since, but took care of business last Saturday versus the Padres in his first meeting with the club since the brawl.
The right-hander logged eight innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and a walk in the 6-1 win while striking out a season-high eight and keeping his emotions in check.
"His stuff seemed normal. He wasn't overpowering, it just seemed like he was on the corners all night and he was able to change speeds," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Greinke.
The 29-year-old is 4-2 with a 3.79 earned run average in 10 starts this season, including a 3-0 mark and 2.12 ERA in five outings at home.
Greinke is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA in three previous meetings with the Phillies, including two starts. He'll look to pitch the Dodgers to another victory tonight after they pushed their season-high winning streak to five straight with a sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles took all three games of the set with its rival, winning Wednesday's finale 4-2 as Clayton Kershaw dazzled for eight-plus innings. He was charged with two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts to secure his first win since May 20.
"Clayton looked pretty good. They were aggressive and tried to get him early. When Clayton is hitting both sides of the plate he's tough," said Mattingly.
Mattingly's club got just enough offense to get the win. Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to nine straight, batting .485 over that stretch, and drove in a run for a sixth consecutive contest, while Yasiel Puig recorded his 13th multi-hit game in 22 contests with a 3-for-4 effort.
Philadelphia's Jonathan Pettibone will try to slow that due down as he is slated to start tonight's opener despite exiting his last outing due to tightness in his lower back.
The right-handed rookie, who replaced an injured Roy Halladay in the rotation, hurled six innings in a no-decision versus the New York Mets on Saturday. He was charged with a run on five hits and a walk, but appeared to tweak his back on a swing in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After attempting to warm up for the next frame, Pettibone gave way to the bullpen with the Phillies ahead by six runs and is on target to start tonight after making it through a bullpen session on Monday.
Pettibone, who has never before faced the Dodgers, is winless since a May 14 victory gave him a 3-0 start to his career. The 22-year-old is 0-3 with a 4.70 earned run average in seven starts since and 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA overall in the campaign.
The Phillies opened a 10-game road trip by taking two of three over the San Diego Padres, securing the series win with Wednesday's 7-5 victory in 13 innings.
Delmon Young hit a game-tying two-rum homer in the eighth inning and the Phils scored twice in the 13th inning without a hit.
Chase Utley began the frame by getting hit by a Tommy Layne pitch before Domonic Brown drew a walk following outs by Michael Young and Ryan Howard.
The speedy Ben Revere then hit a grounder to Logan Forsythe, but the second baseman failed to field the ball cleanly for an error. He then compounded his mistake with another error on a throw home as Brown was able to cross the plate for a second run after Utley had already scored.
"That's why you keep playing," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "You'd be surprised at what you can do when you really want to play. That's what it's all about ... If you want to play, it can take you a long way. It might not take you to the Promised Land, but you can play a lot better and have a lot more fun if you're winning games."
Jonathan Papelbon, who had blown each of his previous three save opportunities, capped a solid performance from the Philadelphia bullpen by tossing a scoreless 13th. It was his 15th save of the season.
Though the Phillies won two of three in their last trip to Los Angeles, they still lost five of seven overall to the Dodgers in 2012.