Zack Greinke has been nearly unbeatable over the last 2 1/2 months, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have won 13 of his last 14 starts.
The lone blemish in that stretch, however, came against the Cincinnati Reds.
As the Dodgers try to avoid their first three-game losing streak in three months, Greinke looks to avenge that defeat Saturday at Great American Ball Park in what could be a pitchers' duel versus Cincinnati's Mat Latos.
Los Angeles (83-57) suddenly has some starting pitching concerns as Chris Capuano left in the second inning of Friday's 3-2 loss with a mild groin strain. He was replacing Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was scratched with a sore back.
The Dodgers, who haven't lost three in a row since June 8-10, ended up using six relief pitchers.
The NL West leaders, however, probably aren't panicking too much considering they're closing in on a division crown and have NL Cy Young Award candidates Greinke (14-3, 2.78 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw atop their rotation.
Greinke has a 1.24 ERA in winning his last six starts, and is 11-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last 14 outings, yielding two runs or fewer 11 times. He allowed a run and two hits while striking out seven over seven innings in Sunday's 2-1 victory over San Diego.
"Just don't want to waste all the good starts now,' said Greinke, who is also 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his last five road starts.
"It's been good the last nine, 10 starts. Location's been as good as it's been for a long stretch.'
It's been eight starts since his last loss, surrendering four runs in seven innings of a 5-2 defeat to the Reds (80-62) on July 25. Xavier Paul and Jay Bruce each homered off the right-hander.
Latos (14-5, 2.98) opposed Greinke in that game and yielded two runs in 7 2-3 innings to get the win.
That outing began a sensational stretch for Latos, who is 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA in his last eight starts, pitching into the eighth inning five times. He tossed a four-hitter in Monday's 7-2 win over St. Louis for his first complete game of the season. He walked one and retired 21 of the final 22 batters he faced to match his career high for wins set in 2010 and equaled last season.
"He wants the ball," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website. "He wants to go deep into games. We'll ask him, 'Hey man, you had enough?' Early in the year, he was kind of telling us, but now we got to ask him. He's come a long ways."
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA in his two starts against the Dodgers with the Reds, and owns a 2.32 ERA in 10 career starts versus Los Angeles.
Greinke is 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA in seven lifetime starts against Cincinnati.
Joey Votto has given Greinke problems, going 6 for 19 with three homers, and he hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning Friday as the Reds pulled within two of NL Central-leading Pittsburgh. Votto's single in the fourth ended his 0-for-13 slump.
"Joey coming through was a big thing for us,' starter Mike Leake said. "When you're in a slump, it's tough - not that his was a big one. I'm glad for him.'
Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and is batting .344 with three home runs in his last eight games. He is 4 for 15 with a homer lifetime against Latos.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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