Dodgers News: Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager Stress Importance Of Sticking To Game Plan Against Zack Greinke
Dodgers News: Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager Stress Importance Of Sticking To Game Plan Against Zack Greinke
Mark J. Terrill-AP Photo

Whenever the Los Angeles Dodgers have been in a situation this season where a starting pitcher has faced an opponent for the second, third, etc. time, manager Dave Roberts has given the advantage to the hitters.

However, the rookie skipper sung a different tune prior to Monday’s matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the second time this season the Dodgers would face Zack Greinke. “With Zack and what I’ve heard about him, how intelligent and cerebral he is, it probably leans more towards his advantage,” Roberts explained.

“He knows a lot of the hitters’ weaknesses and tendencies. It’s going to be a fun cat and mouse affair. To have him back at Dodger Stadium, there’s going to be a lot of energy. Guys are looking forward to competing against him.”

That proved to be an understatement less than five hours later. Greinke’s homecoming was a disastrous start for the 32-year-old.

He held the Dodgers to one hit over three scoreless innings, and struck out the side in the third. Corey Seager, who singled in the first, hit a leadoff double in the fourth inning.

Two batters later, Adrian Gonzalez broke the scoreless tie by pulling a letter-high fastball down the right-field line for a two-run homer.

Greinke then completely unraveled in the fifth. Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal all tagged their former teammate for a home run. Seager and Turner went back-to-back.

Seager finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. It was the second time in as many games against Greinke in which the young shortstop enjoyed a fair share of success at the plate. “Greinke is really good. Obviously he’s been one of the best pitchers for a while,” Seager said.

“It’s one of those things where it kind of locks you in a little more, you have to be on your game. … He’s so strategic with everything he throws that it’s fun to play with him. You know everything has a purpose. I don’t want to say chess match, but it kind of is.”

Gonzalez, who was teammates with Greinke for three seasons, downplayed the idea of either side holding the upper hand. “You know him a little more (from being teammates), but he also knows the hitters. I don’t think there’s an advantage or disadvantage,” Gonzalez said.

“We know he’s a great pitcher, we know he’s not going to make mistakes. We all just hunted our pitch and eventually we knew he would keep mixing it up and go to that pitch. We just couldn’t miss it.”

Pederson’s postgame comments also included the buzz words. “Just sticking to the game plan,” he said. “He’s so dominant that you can’t get big. You just have to wait for your pitch or a mistake, and put a good swing on it.”

Pederson’s home run came with some sense of redemption. Greinke called the young center fielder ‘an easy out’ last season in jest. “He still struck me out, so I’m probably still an easy out to him. But it was nice to I guess get him back a little bit,” Pederson said.

Roberts credited his players for sticking to their game plan. He also added a caveat to his previous remarks of Greinke holding the edge. “You still have to execute,” Roberts said.

“He does know our weaknesses but if you don’t execute here at this level, you’re going to pay. Can you foresee five home runs? Absolutely not.” The five home runs Greinke allowed set a career high.