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In his look at NLCS X-factors, Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen is "far from a sure thing" leading up to closer Kenley Jansen.
Southpaw Paco Rodriguez, for example, who dominated for much of the 2013 season, hasn't been effective in recent weeks. Six out of eight Atlanta Braves to face him in the previous round of the playoffs reached base, and Rodriguez was disturbingly hittable in September (1.168 OPS against, 3 HR allowed in 6.1 IP).
Similarly, Ronald Belisario has issued eight walks in his past nine appearances (regular season and postseason), compared to only three strikeouts.
The upshot is that it's not enough for Zack Greinke to keep the St. Louis Cardinals off the scoreboard; he needs to do so while pitching into the later innings of Game 1. Specifically, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is hoping he'll make it through the seventh and hand-deliver a lead to Brian Wilson and Jansen.
However, Greinke hasn't accomplished that in any of his past six starts, one big reason being that he's top-toeing around left-handed batters. The former AL Cy Young Award winner gets in bad counts when at a platoon disadvantage, and the results reflect that:
Zack Greinke, 2013 Platoon Splits
Greinke's game plan against Matt Adams, Carlos Beltran and Matt Carpenter will go a long way in determining whether or not he works efficiently.