Zack Greinke to make rehab start Friday, on track to rejoin Dodgers next week

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When Zack Greinke fractured his collarbone during a benches-clearing brawl with Padres’ outfielder Carlos Quentin on April 11, he was originally expected to miss about eight weeks. However, he’s now on track to return well ahead of schedule.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Greinke will make a minor league rehab start tomorrow with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, just a shade under four weeks removed from his surgery. Assuming all goes well, he could make his return to the Dodgers’ rotation next Wednesday against the Nationals.

Greinke stretched out to 60 pitches during his most recent bullpen session on Tuesday, so he figures to throw somewhere in the area of 75 pitches tomorrow. It’s unlikely that he’ll be ready for a full workload if he’s activated next Wednesday, but the scuffling Dodgers will take what they can get.

Greinke, who joined the Dodgers over the winter on a six-year, $147 million contract, had a 1.59 ERA and 10/1 K/BB ratio over his first 11 1/3 innings of work this season prior to the benches-clearing incident.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.