Dodgers, Zack Greinke in must-win Game 2 against Cardinals

Dodgers, Zack Greinke in must-win Game 2 against Cardinals
Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke had a record of 17-8 this season with a 2.71 earned-run average in 32 starts. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A couple of questions into his Friday news conference, Zack Greinke offered a reminder of how bluntly he speaks.

"Are these questions going to get better?" Greinke asked.


Greinke also talked candidly about his past success against the St. Louis Cardinals, whom he will face Saturday in a must-win second game of a National League Division Series.

"Some of the games, I've done good, though they have hit the ball hard a lot and just somehow got outs," he said. "I don't really know how to explain it."

Greinke faced the Cardinals twice last year in the NL Championship Series. He limited them to two runs over eight innings of an eventual 13-inning defeat in Game 1. He beat them in Game 5 by holding them to two runs over seven innings.

"Wasn't like I pitched bad, but I think I got a little lucky — along those lines, also with some big situations, a ball being hit at someone," Greinke said.

Greinke said the Cardinals are "a smarter team than most."

"I've faced them a bunch, so I kind of know some of their holes and where I like to pitch them," Greinke said.

"But then they also have a couple guys on their team that are really smart hitters that make adjustments faster than other guys."

Greinke cited Jon Jay as an example, pointing to various adjustments Jay made against him in recent years.

"He's just an example of a Cardinal player that makes adjustments better than most other teams do," Greinke said.

Roster decisions

Left-hander Scott Elbert and rookie right-hander Carlos Frias made the Dodgers division series roster, as management thought a 12th pitcher would be more valuable than an extra position player.

Excluded from the roster was sure-handed infielder Darwin Barney, who was sometimes used in the regular season as a late-inning defensive replacement for second baseman Dee Gordon.

Other notable omissions included left-hander Paco Rodriguez and rookie outfielder Joc Pederson.

Manager Don Mattingly acknowledged that the decision of whether to include an extra reliever or position player came down to the team's instability in the bullpen.


Last year, Mattingly said, the Dodgers knew Brian Wilson would pitch the eighth inning and Kenley Jansen the ninth.

"Now, we're matching up, we're multiple guys at the end of the game, so we're just using more pitchers to get to where we need to go," Mattingly said.

As for why Elbert was chosen over Rodriguez, Mattingly pointed to Rodriguez's recent back-muscle injury.

"We were a little uncomfortable with him finishing an inning and warming back up," Mattingly said. "Scotty, we felt more flexibility and felt like he was going to bounce back a little easier than Paco."

For Elbert, making the roster completed a comeback from three elbow operations over a two-year span.

Until he was called up from the minor leagues in September, he hadn't pitched in the major leagues since 2012.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez