Zack Greinke helps spark Los Angeles Dodgers to victory

By Matthew Muench
Kirby Lee–USA Today Sports

Although Zack Greinke was back sooner than perhaps what smart would have suggested, the $147 million right-hander looked as sharp as ever to help lead the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. The series win for the Blue Crew was their first this season against a team who had a winning record at the start of the series.

Pitching with a metal rod inserted in his surgically repaired collarbone, Greinke allowed just one run in 5.1 innings, and even showed some swat in his swing with an RBI single in the second inning. The rod in his collarbone just may be the lighting rod the Dodgers need to spark a ball club, who have struggled since Greinke went down in April.

The Dodgers now have three top-tier pitchers at the top of their rotation, giving them an excellent chance to win every series from here on out. Beating Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-Jin on consecutive days will also not be easy. This is what the Dodgers management paid for.

The bats are starting to come around, also. Matt Kemp is quietly working on a 14-game hitting streak that has boosted his average up to .282. The power is still not there (still only one HR), but it is clear he is starting to find his groove at the plate.

Adrian Gonzalez continues to be consistent. His two-out RBI single in the first inning was his eighth hit in 10 at bats with runners in scoring position and two outs. That is what the Dodgers management paid for.

The Dodgers bullpen showed signs of life again on Wednesday. Five pitchers combined to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings to help Greinke notch his second win of the season. Matt Guerrier and Kenley Jansen both pitched out of big jams, and Brandon League pitched a scoreless final frame for his ninth save of the season.

As a unit, the Dodgers staff has allowed just one run over the last 22 innings. That is what the Dodgers management paid for.

On deck for the Dodgers is a day off Thursday followed by a road trip out east at Atlanta and Milwaukee. The Dodgers enter the road trip winners of four of five games and are 5.5 games back of the first-place San Francisco Giants.

This is a perfect time to keep the momentum going. Question is, can they?

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