Since signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2013 season, Zack Greinke has largely lived in the shadow of Clayton Kershaw. That’s not to discredit Greinke, who has been one-half of arguably the best one-two punch in baseball.
It’s understandable the pitcher who’s won three Cy Young awards in four seasons and the 2014 National League MVP would receive the bulk of headlines. However, this season Kershaw spent the first couple of months playing second fiddle to Greinke.
Now the duo is rolling, with each following the other’s impressive outing with one of their own. After Kershaw threw a complete-game shutout against the New York Mets, Yasmani Grandal recalled a telling conversation he and Greinke had in Spring Training, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
One of the funny things was in spring training, I’m catching Greinke and we go to San Antonio (for exhibition games) and he has a great outing,” Grandal recalled. “First thing he tells me the next day when I’m talking to him is, ‘Kershaw better watch out because I’m coming after him.’”
Kershaw downplayed the idea of him competing with Greinke, but added he’s mindful of the right-hander’s success and attempts to match him:
I don’t compete against my teammates. It’s hard enough to get guys out,” he said. “But, yeah, I’m trying to copy Zack for sure, the way he’s throwing. It’s been really fun to watch. I’m just trying not to lower the bar at all when I’m out there.”
After a rough start to the season where Kershaw wasn’t getting the results he’s accustomed to, his last 11 starts have been in line with established expectations. Meanwhile Greinke has seemingly been unflappable since his first trip the mound in 2015, and the pair have been particularly dominant in July.
Kershaw over four July starts: 3-0, 33 IP, 0.27 ERA, 0.61 FIP, 0.64 WHIP, 45 strikeouts, two walks
Greinke over three July starts: 3-0, 23 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.19 FIP, 0.39 WHIP, 23 strikeouts, one walk
Moreover, opponents are batting just .105/.117/.118 against Greinke in July, and .162/.183/.188 when facing Kershaw. Greinke owns a 43.2 scoreless innings streak, while Kershaw’s scoreless streak is up to 29 innings with nine shutout frames Thursday.