Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke had one of the best first halves of baseball on the mound.
He finished 8-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 18 starts (123.1 IP), including a current 35.2 scoreless innings streak. The 31-year-old’s ERA is the lowest at the All-Star break since 1981 and the second-lowest in Dodgers history. Greinke was named to the National League All-Star team, and on Monday was announced as the starter for the NL team.
In an interview with MLB Network Radio, San Francisco Giants and NL All-Star manager Bruce Bochy said his decision was simple when it came to the starting pitcher:
You look at the numbers. They are historic. His last five games he hasn’t given up a run. He’s just been so consistent. Seventeen quality starts out of 18, and especially when [Max] Scherzer threw Sunday, this was a no-brainer. He’s earned this and he’ll go a couple innings.
Greinke becomes the first Dodgers pitcher to start the game since 2006, when Brad Penny did the honors. The right-hander joins Joc Pederson in the starting lineup becoming the first Dodgers duo to start an All-Star game since 1995 (Hideo Nomo and Mike Piazza).
While it seemed like an easy decision, the fact that Greinke actually got the start is a bit surprising based on years’ past. Kershaw was believed to have the credentials to start the last two seasons only to lose to a hometown favorite in Matt Harvey in 2013 and a manager’s player in Adam Wainwright last season. Bochy had his ace, Bumgarner, available to start, but went with his rival’s player.
With Bochy planning to use Greinke for two innings, it would be interesting to see who would follow. He answered:
We pretty much have it laid out. You’ll see [Gerrit] Cole follow him then probably [Madison] Bumgarner and [Clayton] Kershaw.
Assuming the other pitchers that follow Greinke go one inning, fans can expect to see Kershaw in the fifth inning. Kershaw was named to the team on Sunday as Scherzer’s replacement. He became the fifth Dodger named to the All-Star team, the most since 1995.