Zack Greinke doesn’t care about potentially starting the All-Star Game for the first time. Instead, he’s looking to continue the most dominant stretch of his career Thursday night against the lowly Philadelphia Phillies.
Greinke (7-2, 1.48 ERA) owns the lowest ERA in the majors, and his 0.89 WHIP and .200 batting average against are among the lowest qualifying in each category.
The right-hander has also tossed a career-high 27 2-3 scoreless innings – the longest such streak by a Dodgers pitcher since Clayton Kershaw had a 41-inning run last year – while going 2-0 over his last four starts.
"It’s been pretty good," Greinke said of his first half of the season. "Mainly just trying to stay one pitch at a time."
Another gem in the finale of this four-game set for Los Angeles (48-38) could make Greinke the NL starter in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.
"I don’t really think about it," he said.
Greinke looked deserving of the honor Saturday, scattering four hits in seven innings while outpitching Matt Harvey in a 4-3 win over the New York Mets.
"He’s doing what he always does," manager Don Mattingly said. "He knows exactly where he wants to go with every guy. Zack has got the weapons and he does his homework."
Greinke has won three straight starts against the Phillies (29-58), allowing two runs with 14 strikeouts in 14 1-3 innings over his last two.
Kershaw – whose All-Star status is subject to a final vote – tossed an eight-hitter with 13 strikeouts in Tuesday’s 5-0 victory.
Jimmy Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP and three-time All-Star with the Phillies, is 4 for 12 with five RBIs and four runs in his first series against his former team after connecting for a three-run homer and a double Tuesday.
Philadelphia owns the worst record in baseball and has lost 11 of 14 games thanks in large part to a 7.07 ERA from its rotation. The starters have failed to complete at least six innings nine times in that span.
The Phillies’ bullpen is one of those most used in the majors at 281 2-3 innings, 31 2-3 more than at this point last year.
"We just can’t afford to use the bullpen," manager Pete Mackanin told MLB’s official website. "We’ve got to get more length."
Expecting that from Severino Gonzalez (3-2, 8.28) is a stretch since he’s yet to complete six innings in any of his six starts.
Still, rebuilding Philadelphia felt it was more valuable to have the rookie right-hander back in the rotation after Kevin Correia was designated for assignment Tuesday.
Gonzalez’s last appearance came as the 26th player due to a doubleheader against Washington on June 28. He gave up four runs – three on two homers – and struck out seven in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-5 win as the teams split the twinbill.
Gonzalez allowed five runs and two homers while hitting two batters in seven innings of his most recent start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.
Freddy Galvis, Rollins’ replacement at shortstop for the Phillies, is 17 for 39 (.436) during a career-high 10-game hitting streak.
Domonic Brown has three hits in the last two games, lifting his season average 20 points to .205. His lone hit in nine at-bats versus Greinke is a solo homer.