video thumbnail

LAD@MIN: Greinke allows one unearned run, goes to 5-0

Zack Greinke is on a roll, enough that Dodgers management decided to hold off a day on Clayton Kershaw's return from the disabled list to keep Greinke on a preferred five-day cycle.

So Greinke starts Monday night's series opener for the Dodgers against the Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann.

Greinke is 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four lifetime starts against Washington and threw six scoreless innings last July 20 in his only start at Nationals Park.

He's seeking a 6-0 start to a season for the second time in his career, the other time came in 2009, when he went on to win the Cy Young Award for Kansas City.

Dating back to July 30 of last year, Greinke has made 18 consecutive regular season starts of five or more innings allowing two or fewer runs. It's the longest such streak in the Major Leagues since 1914. During the run, he's 12-1 with a 1.72 ERA.

As for Zimmermann, he is looking to win his second straight decision. In his last start this past Wednesday, he held the Astros scoreless for 6 1/3 innings in a 7-0 victory. Zimmermann is clearly the best pitcher on Washington's staff. He is one guy who doesn't care about compiling a lot of strikeouts.

When he first came into the league in 2009, Zimmermann thought too much about strikeouts, which affected his pitch count. But after having Tommy John surgery that year, he developed a new pitching philosophy: A groundout is just as valuable as a strikeout.

"When I came up, I tried to strike everyone out. I was out of the zone and throwing 80 pitches in four innings," Zimmermann said. "I would scratch my head and wonder, 'Would I be able to make it to the sixth?' After I had Tommy John surgery, I thought to myself, 'The best in the game hit .300, so they are going to get themselves out seven out of 10 times.' That's the way I thought about it. The chances of me getting this guy out are pretty good."

Dodgers: Dee Gordon's tutor
Dee Gordon, who has taken charge of the second base position and leadoff spot in the batting order, credits first-base coach Davey Lopes with helping him compile an MLB-leading 19 stolen bases heading into Sunday's game.

"I'm just listening to Davey," said Gordon. "I'm putting in the time, watching the video, just learning and taking criticism when he gives it."

Lopes won National League base-stealing titles for the Dodgers in 1975 and 1976, finishing his career with 557 steals, 26th all-time.

Nationals: Frandsen to see more playing time
With outfielder Bryce Harper out until after the All-Star break because of torn ligaments in his thumb, look for Kevin Frandsen to see his share of playing time in the outfield and infield.

Frandsen is a spark off the bench and is aggressive on the bases. Frandsen could bat near the top of the order or near the bottom. Entering Monday's action against the Dodgers, Frandsen is hitting .268 with two RBIs.

Worth Noting:
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dee Gordon on Saturday became the first Dodger since 1900 with five or more hits and three or more steals in a game.

• Brandon League has not allowed an earned run in his last 11 innings over seven games.

• Outfielder Nate McLouth continues to have a tough time at the plate, going 4-for-44 [.091] this season.

• Manager Matt Williams made it official after Sunday's game -- right-hander Doug Fister will make his season debut on Friday against the Athletics.

MLB.com Comments