The Los Angeles Dodgers have relied heavily on Zack Greinke to bounce back from defeats. Now they need him to help rebound from a no-hitter.
Greinke will try to end the Dodgers' three-game slide by extending the longest single-season winning streak of his career Saturday night against the Houston Astros.
Owner of the lowest ERA in the majors, Greinke (13-2, 1.58) is on his way to the NL Cy Young Award. He may also garner some MVP consideration since he's 7-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 12 starts following a loss, helping the Dodgers go 10-2 in those games.
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Los Angeles (67-54) is in need of another gem from Greinke after Mike Fiers tossed a no-hitter to lead Houston to a 3-0 win Friday in the opener of this three-game set.
Greinke is 8-0 with a 1.16 ERA over his last 11 starts, two shy of a career-best winning streak that spanned 13 starts from 2014-15.
He has the lowest ERA in team history after 24 starts since Burleigh Grimes posted a 1.55 mark in 1918, when the franchise was known as the Brooklyn Robins.
Greinke is tied for the club's single-season record set by Rube Marquard in 1916 and his ERA is also the lowest in the majors since Greg Maddux's 1.56 with Atlanta in 1994.
"With his stuff, if he's able to execute a pitch and put it where he wants, it's going to be a long day for the other side," teammate Andre Ethier said. "And he's done that all year, for the most part."
The right-hander certainly did that Sunday, allowing one run with eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 2-1 win over Cincinnati.
He's also been a threat at the plate, going 4 for 6 with two homers over his last three games, but he'll give way to a designated hitter in an AL park.
Greinke is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA in six career starts against the Astros, but he last faced them three years ago with Milwaukee.
Los Angeles may have Yasiel Puig (right hamstring) back for the first time in three games after manager Don Mattingly said he should return in this series. Puig was hitting .333 with two homers and six RBIs in seven games before getting hurt, and he owns a .360 average in 18 road games during interleague play.
The Astros (67-56) are looking for Scott Kazmir (6-8, 2.43) to draw some inspiration from Fiers in order to bounce back from his worst performance since joining the club.
The left-hander matched his season highs with six runs and nine hits allowed in 5 1-3 innings of Monday's 9-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
He's lost three straight starts with a 4.86 ERA after going 2-0 and allowing one earned run in 34 innings over five starts with Houston and Oakland.
"I really don't feel like (I'm) off," said Kazmir, who has made five starts since being acquired in a trade with the A's. "I think it's just a matter of being completely sharp. I feel great. My fastball feels like it's where it needs to be. It's just a matter of executing. That's something when it comes to crucial times I didn't do it."
He's 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers, but this is his first since 2010.
Jake Marisnick had a two-run homer and a double Friday, snapping out of a 3-for-24 slump over his previous 16 games.