Dodgers Ace Zack Greinke Will Lead LA to Victory in Return vs. Nationals

Zachary Krueger@@ZacharyKruegerCorrespondent IIMay 15, 2013

Zack Greinke returns from injury tonight against the Washington Nationals.
Zack Greinke returns from injury tonight against the Washington Nationals.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

According to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, Zack Greinke will return Wednesday for the Dodgers against the Washington Nationals just one month after he broke is collarbone in a brawl with Carlos Quentin of the Padres.  Greinke has made a nice recovery from his injury, as he progressed through his rehab much faster than anticipated.  Here is why you can expect Greinke to lead the Dodgers to a win tonight against the Nationals.


Washington Struggles Offensively on the Road

The Dodgers have a pitcher-friendly ballpark that can make life difficult for hitters on either team.  Unfortunately for the Nationals, they have struggled to hit on the road, regardless of which ballpark they are playing in.

The Nationals are 9-9 on the road this year, but that could be thanks to their pitching staff, which has posted fairly strong numbers in their away games.  While Washington's record suggests that it is a pretty average team on the road, its offensive statistics suggest otherwise.

Washington has struggled offensively on the road this season, hitting just .223 as a team, which is the third-lowest road average of any team in the league.  Due to his injury, Greinke has pitched only one game in Los Angeles this season, but it was a solid outing.

In his lone home start on the season, Greinke did not allow a run in over 6.1 innings pitched, striking out six while allowing only two hits.  The fact that Greinke's first game back from injury is a home game could play a big factor in the outcome of this game.


Greinke Could Start Where He Left Off

We have not had much of a chance to see what Greinke will be capable of this season, but in just two starts this season, Greinke has been very good.

Greinke was a strikeout machine before going down with his injury, striking out 10 batters in 11.1 innings while walking only one.  Hitters have hit just .175 off of the righty this season, who has allowed only two runs in his first two games.  

Greinke has been a very good pitcher over the last few seasons, spending time with the Royals, Brewers and Angels in his young career.  With a player of Greinke's caliber, there is no reason to think that he can't get right back to form in tonight's matchup. 


The Dodgers Need to Turn Their Season Around

As it sits, the Dodgers are currently last in the NL West with a 16-22 record, having lost seven of their last 10 games.  If there were ever a time for Los Angeles to turn their season around, they might as well start with the return of their ace.

Despite their subpar record, the Dodgers sit just 6.5 games out of first place, and with much of the season still remaining, they can definitely get themselves on the right track.  Los Angeles certainly has the talent on their roster to become a serious contender in their division.  Notching a series win against the Nationals in Greinke's return could be a nice start to the Dodgers turning their season around.