For a time, we worried about Zack Greinke. We worried that the sore elbow in March and the broken collarbone in April that he probably returned too quickly from had irreparably damaged his season, and while those provided incredibly valid reasons for inconsistent performance and decreased velocity, it still meant we weren’t seeing the pitcher the Dodgers invested so much money in last winter.
Tonight, we saw that pitcher and then some. Greinke was absolutely phenomenal in shutting out the Rockies, 1-0, the fourth shutout of his career and the first since he tossed three in his Cy Young season of 2009 for Kansas City. Greinke was dominant in holding the Rockies to two hits, and managed to get through the first two innings on just 14 pitches. (For the day, 80 of his 110 pitches were strikes.) With his velocity up in the mid 90s — touching 95.85 MPH with movement, according to BrooksBaseball — and finally with control to match, Greinke took a no-hitter into the fifth before Todd Helton broke it up with a single.
Somewhat incredibly, Greinke didn’t strike out anyone until whiffing Michael Cuddyer in the fifth; he then struck out 6 in the next three innings and had nine on the afternoon. By Game Score, this was the best outing of Greinke’s career. Oh — and he even got a hit and stole a base that didn’t even merit a throw. Just outstanding.
Greinke’s performance was not only fun to watch — the game lasted just 2:17 — but absolutely necessary, because tough-luck Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood matched him nearly every step of the way in pitching a complete game of his own (of only eight innings, of course). A Dodger offense that was without Carl Crawford & Yasiel Puig managed only four hits off Chatwood, and they needed help to get even the lone run across the board when Colorado center fielder Dexter Fowler dove and missed badly at Skip Schumaker‘s drive to center in the first. Schumaker came around on productive groundouts from Adrian Gonzalez & Hanley Ramirez, and that’s all the Dodgers would get or need for their 17th win in 21 games.