Dodgers, Padres and struggling offenses begin three-game series
The Los Angeles Dodgers can enter the record books with another futile offensive effort, but they may not need to do much with Zack Greinke facing the San Diego Padres.
Greinke looks to bounce back from his first loss of the season by continuing his mastery of the visiting Padres in the opener of this three-game set Friday night.
The Dodgers (24-16) are among the highest scoring teams in the majors at 4.7 runs per game. However, they failed to produce a run while being swept in a three-game set at San Francisco, losing the finale 4-0 on Thursday to extend their scoreless streak to 31 innings.
A shutout Friday would set a franchise record and make Los Angeles the first team in the majors to go four straight games without a run since the Chicago Cubs from April 27-May 1, 1992.
It would also surpass the Dodgers’ 36 consecutive scoreless innings from 1937, their longest such streak since 1912. They went 33 innings without a run in June 2012.
"You don’t think you’ll come here and not score a run for three games," said manager Don Mattingly, who watched his team hit .220, go 0 for 17 with runners in scoring position and strand 29 overall in San Francisco.
Greinke (5-1, 1.52 ERA) didn’t get any support while allowing one run in six innings of Saturday’s 7-1 loss to Colorado, but he shrugged it off.
"It happens," said Greinke, who was 16-0 with a 1.79 ERA over his previous 20 starts against NL West teams.
Still, the right-hander is 22-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 33 intradivision starts since joining the Dodgers two years ago. He’s also 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA in nine career outings against the Padres (20-22), allowing one run and six hits in 13 innings in two meetings this year.
Greinke earned a 3-0 win at San Diego on April 24, scattering four hits and striking out seven in seven innings. He could be due for another gem since the Padres have hit .184 and scored 12 runs while dropping five of their last six.
They mustered five singles and had only one runner reach scoring position in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Cubs.
"We can’t hang our heads. We’ve got a big road (trip) coming up, we’ll be facing good pitching. We should be used to it by now," third baseman Will Middlebrooks told MLB’s official website of facing the Dodgers and Angels over the next six games.
Middlebrooks has been a rare offensive bright spot with four hits in two games, improving to 9 for 26 (.346) in his past seven.
Andrew Cashner (1-7, 3.24) has been backed by two total runs while losing a career-high five straight starts with a 3.55 ERA. That includes a loss opposite Greinke on April 24, when he allowed two runs in seven innings.
The right-hander didn’t help himself Saturday, giving up three runs in the first inning before allowing one more over the next five of a 4-1 loss to Washington.
"I left a lot of fastballs up. I’ve got to be better," said Cashner, who leads the majors in losses while already matching his total from last year.
He surrendered six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-4 loss at Dodger Stadium on April 8, and continued to have major problems with Adrian Gonzalez, who hit three homers.
Gonzalez’s four home runs are the most Cashner has allowed to any hitter, and he’s 10 for 28 (.357) lifetime off him.