Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers take on Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game series starting Friday.
Remember the last time the Dodgers took on the Phillies? It was a four-game series in Los Angeles to finish off the month of June, right when they started to get hot. They took three of four from the Philadelphia to finish June with a hot streak of eight wins in nine games.
That series began less than two months ago, with the Dodgers in last place by six games. They have not cooled off since with 40 wins in 48 games, launching into first place with a 7.5 game lead, and currently riding an eight-game winning streak.
Yes, things have changed in Los Angeles, but even with the team steam-rolling opponents, when the name Zach Lee pops up on the opposing lineup card you realize that he has the ability to put a zero up on the board no matter how hot your team is.
The Dodgers and Phillies are tossing aces on Friday with Zack Greinke and Lee taking the mound for the series opener Friday.
The last time the Dodgers faced Lee he lasted seven innings, giving up four hits for three runs with 10 strikeouts. He made few mistakes, but paid for a big one in the first inning, giving up a three-run homer to Hanley Ramirez.
Lee cruised for the next 6.2 innings, giving up just two more hits and no runs on his way to a no-decision.
Since that outing against the Dodgers, Lee has not put up the numbers you would expect. He is 1-4 in five starts with a 5.64 ERA, allowing 39 hits, 19 earned runs, and eight home runs with 30 strikeouts and five walks in 30.1 innings pitched.
Lee was battling neck pain over a long duration. He only started three games between July 10 and Aug. 14, receiving 10 and 13 days rest between those starts.
So while the Dodgers may be facing an embattled Lee, Greinke has been great in his last three starts for a combined 19.2 innings with four earned runs, 19 hits, two walks and 18 strikeouts. In his last 10 starts, he has pitched more than six innings eight times, and has lost only one game.
The last time Greinke faced Philadelphia he was given the win despite giving up 12 hits and four earned runs in seven innings. He faced 30 batters in that game, throwing 102 pitches with only eight swings and misses, but he was given an easy victory since the Dodgers supported him with six runs.
Besides Greinke vs Lee, in this series we will also see Clayton Kershaw vs Kyle Kendrick and Ricky Nolasco vs Cole Hamels matchups. In August, the Phillies are 3-10, while the Dodgers are riding high at 13-1. Greinke vs Lee has potential to be an entertaining showdown and is not a sure victory for the Dodgers, but they should be able to stay hot and take two out of three in this series against the struggling Phillies.