Dodgers aim to clinch series with 1-2 pitching punch
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - All season long, the Los Angeles Dodgers have relied on their one-two pitching punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and it has been no different in their National League Division Series.
Left-hander Kershaw, pitching on just three days' rest after a loss in Game One, thwarted the Mets in a 3-1 win in New York on Tuesday as the Dodgers staved off playoff elimination to tie up the best-of-five series at 2-2.
Right-hander Greinke, the Game Two winner and a Cy Young candidate who went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA in the regular season, will start Thursday's do-or-die game in Los Angeles.
"With Clayton and Zack, they've given us two guys that stop streaks, save your bullpen, are just day-in, day-out consistent guys," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told a conference call on Wednesday.
"You can really count on what you're going to get from them 90-something percent of the time. That's the value of the two guys ... aces that went out every time and kind of posted and pretty much rested your bullpen, gave your team confidence.
"You felt like you were going to win that day, and that takes the pressure off of the other starters."
However, Mattingly knows the Dodgers will have their hands full on Thursday when the Mets will send to the mound their long-haired ace, Game One winner Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA).
"We get the ball back to Zack on full rest, who has been one of our pocket aces all year long," said Mattingly, whose Dodgers are aiming to reach the NL Championship Series for a second time in the past three seasons. Continued...