There's a reason why baseball people talk about things evening out during a season.
Take the case of Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, the former Royals ace.
In the middle of June, Greinke had a 3-2 record with a 4.22 ERA. He also had spent time on the disabled list because of a broken clavicle after a much-publicized run-in with the Padres' Carlos Quentin.
Since then, Greinke has looked like a pitcher who received a $147 million contract in the offseason.
Heading into his start on Saturday, Greinke was 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA dating to July 8. In those 11 starts, he had 67 strikeouts and 17 walks.
The Orange County Register asked Dodgers manager Don Mattingly what he has learned about Greinke this season.
"Definitely that him being uncomfortable around people is overblown," Mattingly said, referencing Greinke's social anxiety. "He's easy to talk to. He doesn't shy away from anything. He's been part of everything that's going on.
"You heard that he was some kind of recluse or something. . . . He's smart. He's prepared. I didn't know him at all."
While Greinke won the NL Pitcher of the Month award for August, he was part of a terrific threesome of Dodgers starters, joining Clayton Kershaw and Ricky Nolasco. They were a combined 13-2 with a 1.30 ERA in August.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, no other starting threesome since 1969 combined for 13 wins and an ERA as low as 1.30 with each starter making four or more starts.
-- The Yankees' Alfonso Soriano has the most home runs since the All-Star break with 14.
-- Since being released by the Astros and signed by the Padres, shortstop Ronny Cedeno is hitting .300 for San Diego.
-- Donnie Murphy has nine home runs in 28 games with the Cubs after hitting 18 in 244 games with the Royals, A's and Marlins.
-- Since the All-Star break, the Tigers have five stolen bases and have been caught stealing seven times.
-- Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez was hitting .315 on June 30. He's batting .281 now and has a .226 average in his last 51 games.
-- San Diego pitcher Eric Stults is 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in the second half.
-- The Nationals lead the majors having been at .500 23 times this season through Thursday; the Red Sox and Braves are the only teams that have not had a .500 record at any time during season.
-- According to Bloomberg Sports, the Reds' Aroldis Chapman and the Tigers' Bruce Rondon have thrown the most pitches clocked at 100 mph or higher this year: Chapman 182 times and Rondon 111 times.
-- Barry Zito is 0-9 on the road and, if his numbers don't improve, could establish major-league marks for highest road ERA (9.56 through Friday) and opponents' batting average (.401 through Thursday) among pitchers with at least nine losses and no wins away from home in a season.
YOU NEED TO KNOW
-- The Rangers have lost 12 of Yu Darvish's last 18 starts and are 14-13 overall when he starts.
-- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is the sixth player in American League history with three straight seasons of 20-plus homers and 120 games caught.
-- For the first time since mid-May, the Rays' top four starters are healthy. David Price missed seven weeks because of a triceps strain, Alex Cobb lost two months after being hit in the head June 15 by Eric Hosmer's line drive, Matt Moore missed 51/2 weeks because of a sore elbow until returning Tuesday, and Jeremy Hellickson had a week of forced rest.
-- The Royals start a three-game series Monday at Cleveland, the same day the Orioles play host to the Yankees in a four-game set.
-- In a key NL Central series, Cincinnati goes to Pittsburgh on Friday for the start of a three-game series.
-- Oakland travels to Texas to start a three-game series on Friday as the teams battle for the AL West title.
WORDS OF WISDOM
"They can do anything they want as long as they don't take that seat away. People always ask me what's my favorite thing about this place. I always say it's that seat. That seat got me a World Series ring. I don't ever want to come in here and see that it's gone."
Marlins first-base coach Perry Hill on renovations to Wrigley Field. He wants to make sure the seat Steve Bartman occupied in the 2003 playoffs is preserved.
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