The Los Angeles Dodgers have to like their chances of extending their longest win streak of the season with Zack Greinke on the mound.
The Dodgers, who are 5-0 when Greinke starts at home, expect to have Matt Kemp back in the lineup for Thursday night's opener of a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Los Angeles starters have posted a 1.83 ERA during a five-game win streak that began when Greinke (4-2, 3.79 ERA) yielded one run over eight innings with eight strikeouts in Saturday's 6-1 victory at San Diego.
"When he's spot on with command, Zack is a fun pitcher to watch," manager Don Mattingly said.
Greinke is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in five home starts, and the Dodgers (35-42) have won all of them even though they've given him 10 total runs of support.
The right-hander made his second career start against Philadelphia (38-41) last season, allowing one run over seven innings. He owns plenty of experience against Michael Young (9 for 36) and Delmon Young (7 for 28).
Mattingly said that Kemp will likely start every contest of this series after the center fielder came in as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 4-2 home win over San Francisco. Kemp returned in Tuesday's 6-5 victory after missing nearly a month with a right hamstring strain.
"We're going to keep an eye on him and see how he's doing body-wise," Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website.
Of course, Mattingly has the luxury of penciling in Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig into his lineup day after day now. Puig had three hits Wednesday and is leading the majors with his .435 average in June.
While Puig's astounding month has drawn him plenty of attention in the Los Angeles area, the fellow rookie he will be facing Thursday will also likely have a cheering section at Dodger Stadium.
Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.14) grew up in the area in the northern part of Orange County, and any support he gets from family and friends could only help him turn around his road woes. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in his last four road starts.
Pettibone is also 0-3 with a 4.70 ERA in seven outings since beating Cleveland on May 14. He exited his last start Saturday against the New York Mets with lower back tightness after yielding one run in six innings in an 8-7 victory, but should be OK after having no setbacks in a bullpen session Monday in San Diego.
The Phillies head north after taking two of three from the Padres, winning 7-5 in 13 innings Wednesday. They scored two unearned runs in the 13th after Delmon Young hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth.
Ryan Howard went 0 for 10 in the series, and is a .204 hitter against the Dodgers for his lowest mark against any NL team.
Los Angeles won five of seven meetings last year.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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