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Thursday, May 1, 2014
Greinke rolls through April again

By Mark Simon

The Dodgers’ 10,000th win was another in a long run of very good days for Zack Greinke.

Greinke improved to 5-0 for the second time in his career (he started 6-0 in 2009) and extended his modern-era record streak of consecutive starts allowing two runs or fewer to 18 straight.

It would be hard to make the case that any pitcher in the National League was better than Jose Fernandez this month, but Greinke is at least in the discussion. He finished with a 2.04 ERA and a 46-to-6 strikeout to walk ratio.

The last Dodgers pitcher to go 5-0 or better and strike out that many hitters in a calendar month was Hideo Nomo, who was 6-0 with an 0.89 ERA and 60 strikeouts in June 1995.

Greinke had a similar month to this one not too long ago, going 5-0 with a 1.23 ERA, with 30 strikeouts and eight walks last August.

Over the life of this 18-start streak, which started on July 30, Greinke is 12-1 with a 1.72 ERA.

The only pitcher with a better ERA during that run is Fernandez, at 1.26.

How he’s done it
Greinke won in a way that was unusual for him. He got eight batters out with his changeup, the second-most he’s had in any start in the last six seasons.

Deception has been a key part of Greinke’s game. He got 45 percent of his batters out this month with pitches that were out of the strike zone. Last season, that rate was only 35 percent for him..

Greinke has been at his best when situations have been toughest. The Twins went 1 for 12 with runners on base against him and 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. This month, he’s held opponents to a batting average of .149 with men on and .130 with runners in scoring position.

Looking ahead
Historically, Greinke has had a hard time matching what he’s done in March and April in May. He’s only had one May in which he made at least three starts and had an ERA below 3.00.

Over the last four seasons, Greinke’s May ERA is 4.43.

But it's also worth noting -- the last time Greinke started 5-0 (2009), his May ERA was 1.57.

And he won the Cy Young Award.