Greinke can't turn around Dodgers' fortunes

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
8:29
PM PT
MILWAUKEE -- The head-scratching second half of Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke continued Saturday as the right-hander seemed a bit out of sorts, this time against the Milwaukee Brewers.

By no means was Greinke terrible. He gave up four runs and eight hits over six innings, with a walk and six strikeouts against his former team. But the All-Star was far from dominant while losing for only the second time in 25 career starts at Miller Park.

[+] EnlargeZack Greinke
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsZack Greinke has had a tough time since the All-Star break, the latest evidence a loss to the Brewers.
"I thought he was fine, really," manager Don Mattingly said. "The 2-0 home run from [Khris] Davis wasn't a bad pitch. I thought he was trying to elevate on him there. The curveball to [Carlos] Gomez, he kind of left it there for him and Aramis [Ramirez] is tough. He's a guy that always drives in runs. He's always been that guy."

That was Greinke's night in a nutshell: A two-run home run from Davis in the second inning, a home run from Gomez in the sixth and an RBI single from Ramirez, also in the sixth.

Making it look even worse was the fact the Dodgers were handcuffed by Brewers starter Mike Fiers, in his first big league start of the season. Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers their only run with a home run in the fourth inning, his 17th of the season and second in two nights.

If there is a positive for Greinke it was that even though he gave up eight hits, the Brewers weren't hitting the ball nearly as hard as the Los Angeles Angels seemed to in his previous start Monday at Dodger Stadium.

In that outing, the Angels scored five times against Greinke (three earned) and had six hits, but even the outs were hit hard.

Grienke didn't even seem to know what to make of his night against the Brewers, perhaps because the concept of losing in Milwaukee is so foreign to him. At first he said he made a lot of mistakes then ultimately concluded that his only mistake pitch of the night came on Gomez's home run.

The right-hander is only 1-3 in his five starts since appearing in the July 15 All-Star Game in Minnesota, but his 2.94 ERA in those outings would suggest a run-support issue. He pitched well July 25 against the San Francisco Giants and July 30 against the Atlanta Braves, both Dodgers victories, but there have been troubles.

Greinke walked a season-high five in his first start after the break, watched the Angels smack the ball hard at times Monday and then lost to the Brewers on Saturday. But in his last two starts, the offense has also combined to give him one run total.

Greinke admitted to the mixed bag but seemed to not have so much of an issue with his start against the Angels.

"I would say today was not a good-pitched performance and the Angels game I thought I pitched well," Greinke said. "I made a couple of mistakes that first inning, but you're going to make some mistakes. Today was not what needs to be done so I have to get better for the next one. The last three have been good besides this one."

Just like after Greinke's last defeat, the Dodgers now turn things over to Clayton Kershaw, who got a no-decision last time out, but his outing led to an eventual victory over the Angels and the start of a mini three-game win streak against the team across town.

It's a stopper role that Kershaw seems to relish, but Grienke used to be that guy, too. Greinke took the loss Saturday for only the sixth time in 25 starts following a Dodgers defeat since joining the team in 2013.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
21 1.77 239 198
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .296
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239