When pressed in recent days to divulge which staring pitcher he views as the ace of his staff, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly refused to do so; saying the pitcher taking the mound on that specific day is his “No. 1 starter.”
Clayton Kershaw entered the 2015 season as the reigning National League MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner, but was largely overshadowed through the first half by Zack Greinke. Now with both pitchers having hit their stride, the wheels are turning in inquiring minds.
Greinke followed up on six scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 11 by holding the Cincinnati Reds to just one run over seven frames on Sunday. He struck out eight and hit a solo home run in the fifth inning that proved to be the difference in the Dodgers’ 2-1 win.
While Mattingly hasn’t entertained the comparison of Greinke and Kershaw, the right-hander addressed the topic after picking up his 13th win of the season. “Not really,” Greinke said when asked if there’s a friendly competition between he and Kershaw.
“It might be there, but it’s not something I think about, and I don’t think he does. In the back of my mind without realizing it, it might be there.” Greinke also deferred to the reigning NL MVP in terms of who the ace of the staff is. “I think Clayton is No. 1. He’s the best in the game and he’s amazing,” he said.
The Dodgers have relied on a reincarnation of sorts the Sandy Koufax-Don Drysdale one-two punch to great success over the last three seasons. What’s continued to escape them however is a World Series ring.
With Greinke and Kershaw arguably both pitching as well as they have since becoming teammates, it may be enough to help the Dodgers get over the proverbial hump come October.