LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke isn't just the best pitcher in the National League this season, one could argue, he is the hottest pitcher in the league. Put it all together and you've got a convincing case that he should be starting Tuesday night's All-Star game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander allowed just one hit in eight innings of the Dodgers' 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday night. Greinke has thrown 35 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest such streak in the majors this season. He lowered his majors-best ERA to 1.39.
How it happened: The Phillies certainly left town believing in the two pitchers at the top of the Dodgers' rotation. The night after Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 of them in a shutout win, Greinke may have been even better Thursday. He had a couple of scares, but not much else. Catcher Cameron Rupp hit a drive to the right-field wall early and narrowly missed a home run that went foul in the sixth, but aside from that, Philly scarcely hit a ball out of the infield. Greinke induced 12 ground ball outs and struck out eight more. The only hit was Ryan Howard's single to left in the second inning. It likely would have been an out if the Dodgers weren't in an extreme shift.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers struck in quick bursts for all their offense. Yasiel Puig had a two-out, two-run double into the left-field corner and a soaring two-run home run; and Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run home run off the right-field foul pole.
What it means: The Dodgers continue to pad their win totals against the bad teams, which is not a bad recipe for reaching the playoffs. They are 6-12 against teams with a winning record, 3-9 against the San Francisco Giants, who are .500, and 43-26 against everyone else.
Notable: Maybe Gonzalez should be representing the Dodgers in the Home Run Derby rather than Joc Pederson. He certainly is swinging a much hotter bat. Gonzalez's sixth-inning blast was his fourth home run in his last seven games and his 17th on the season. Pederson has 20, but hasn't hit one this month. … On Howard's single, the Dodgers had employed an extreme shift, which they typically employ against hitters who consistently pull balls hit on the ground. The third baseman plays on the right side of the infield. Had the Dodgers been playing in their traditional alignment, third baseman Alberto Callaspo likely would have had it. … The Dodgers' bench erupted when Greinke swung and hit a deep fly ball to left field. It looked like a sure home run, but it didn't carry and Cody Asche caught it at the wall. Later, Greinke's helmet flew off his head after a particularly vicious swing.
Up next: The Dodgers open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night at 7:10 PT. Mike Bolsinger (4-3, 3.09 ERA) goes for the Dodgers, who will be facing right-hander Jimmy Nelson (6-8, 4.50 ERA).