Los Angeles Times
STRONG START INA FILL-IN ROLE
Thomas gives up one run in five innings in place of Greinke, who is on the paternity list.
NEW YORK — With a 6foot-4 frame, a beard and a left-handed delivery, Ian Thomas is occasionally mistaken by fans for Clayton Kershaw.
“I guess it’s the scruff and the hair a little bit,” Thomas said. “But far away from what he’s been doing.”
For the Dodgers, he was close enough.
The Dodgers defeated the New York Mets, 7-2, as Thomas pitched five innings Friday night in place of Zack Greinke, who was on the paternity list after returning to Los Angeles for the birth of his first child, a boy.
Thomas limited the Mets to a run and three hits.
The Dodgers are now expecting Greinke to start for them Sunday in the series finale against the offensively downtrodden Mets. Greinke has a 432⁄3-inning scoreless streak.
The Mets have a combined nine hits over the first two games of this series. Their cleanup hitter in the series opener, John Mayberry Jr., was designated for assignment late Friday night. He was batting .164.
Pitching to the Mets on Saturday probably will be someone from the Dodgers’ triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. Former firstround draft pick Zach Lee was mentioned by Manager
Don Mattingly as a possibility this week.
Whoever steps into the rotation will be replacing Brandon Beachy, who was optioned to Oklahoma City this week after two ineffective starts.
With Beachy’s replacement and Greinke pitching over the next two days, the Dodgers will push back Brett Anderson’s upcoming start.
Anderson threw a bullpen session and reported no problems with the Achilles’ tendon that forced him to make an early departure from his start earlier in the week. The lefthander was confident he could pitch Sunday, if Greinke couldn’t, or Tuesday, when the Dodgers resume play after a day off.
The Dodgers have three days off over the next 10 days, which will present them with multiple opportunities to reshuffle their rotation.
Whether Thomas will remain a part of it is unknown.
The 28-year-old was acquired in late May as part of the trade that sent Juan Uribe to the Atlanta Braves. He has spent most of his time in the Dodgers organization in triple A, where he has primarily pitched in relief. However, Thomas made five starts, which made him a candidate to replace Greinke when Greinke’s wife went into labor.
Thomas was promoted to the major leagues two previous times, but Mattingly said, “We didn’t really know what to expect.”
Mattingly said Thomas was instructed to pitch as if he was a reliever and attack the strike zone.
“If he got through one, two, three, whatever,” Mattingly said. “He was able to go five, which was huge for us tonight.”
Thomas didn’t give up a run until the fifth inning.
Justin Turner, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Mets two winters ago, doubled in the Dodgers’ first run in the first inning.
Turner homered in the third inning to increase the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0. Yasiel Puig blasted a two-run homer later in the inning that extended the advantage to 6-0.
Dodgers right-hander Joel Peralta gave up a run in the sixth inning, but Juan Nicasio, Pedro Baez and Josh Ravin combined to pitch 31⁄3 scoreless innings to seal the victory. Ravin was called up from triple A before the game to replace Greinke on the active roster.
The Mets’ Matt Harvey (8-7, 3.19 ERA) will start at Citi Field on Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT. TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020.