Zack Greinke is only in his second season with the Dodgers, but he seems awfully comfortable at Chavez Ravine.
Greinke has been close to unbeatable in his home ballpark, where he and the Dodgers will try to earn a series split with the Pirates on Sunday night. In 20 career appearances at Dodger Stadium, Greinke is 13-2 with a 2.23 ERA, .219 opponent batting average and 137 strikeouts in 133 1/3 innings.
The righty has a 0.975 WHIP in Dodger Stadium -- the lowest of any ballpark in which Greinke has made at least five starts -- which is largely because of his superb control. Greinke has walked just 23 batters at Dodger Stadium, one for nearly every six strikeouts there.
"Zack's just so smart," fellow starter Dan Haren said. "He knows what he can do with what he's got. His stuff is really good. He's using his slider a lot, and it's one of the best in baseball. Zack knows how to pitch. He studies hitters and has the ability to execute his game plan with four really good pitches."
Greinke, who will look to become the NL's first nine-game winner this season, hasn't just been good for the Dodgers at home, either. Since joining as a free agent prior to the 2013 season, Greinke is 23-5 with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.116 WHIP in 39 career starts.
He's also rattled off five wins in eight career starts against Pittsburgh but has a 5.29 ERA when facing the Bucs. Greinke will be opposed by Edinson Volquez, who is 2-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 2014.
The Pirates are owners of a 9-17 road record, and if they can take Sunday's finale, it will be just their second series victory away from home this season -- the other coming against the Cubs from April 8-10, the Pirates' first road series of the year.
Pirates: Volquez trying to regain early-season form
Volquez's last two starts have seen results closer to what he was turning in earlier this season. And that's a good thing for the Pirates.
Volquez, a right-hander, allowed just six earned runs in his first four starts, good for a 2.08 ERA. He also had a 14:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.961 WHIP in that span. It was looking like the Pirates, who got 16 wins out of Francisco Liriano last season, were reviving the career of a veteran starter for the second year in a row.
But starting with a rough outing in St. Louis on April 27, Volquez's next four starts were all duds, and his ERA inflated to 4.71. Volquez was winless from April 17 until May 22, when he turned in his first quality start in a month by tossing six innings and allowing just one run on three hits to the Nationals.
Volquez again lowered his ERA a shade in his last outing, as he gave up two runs to the Mets in five innings. He had thrown 106 pitches in those five frames, however, because he walked five batters.
"Walks killed me tonight," Volquez said after his last start. "I'm supposed to be there in the seventh."
Volquez hasn't blown batters away in his last two outings, but he's kept the Pirates in the game, which he'll attempt to do again Sunday night.
Dodgers: Kemp breaks out of funk
Matt Kemp snapped an 0-for-20 slump with a 2-for-4 showing in the Dodgers' 12-2 rout of Pittsburgh on Saturday.
In his first at-bat, Kemp smacked an RBI single against Pirates starter Brandon Cumpton. He added another hit in the fourth, as well as another RBI, with a third-inning sacrifice fly. The hits were the first for Kemp since May 21, and the last time Kemp upped his RBI total before Saturday was May 16.
Kemp is now hitting .248 for the season with 15 RBIs in 47 games. The average is still far from his career mark of .291, but manager Don Mattingly said he expects Kemp to return to form with his bat, as he adjusts to a new position in left field.
"He's been an MVP, so he knows how to do it," Mattingly said. "It's there."
Kemp was runner-up to Ryan Braun in the 2011 NL MVP balloting, but Mattingly and many others thought Kemp deserved the award.
• Yasiel Puig recorded his 43rd hit of May on Saturday, tying a Dodgers franchise record for the month set by Willie Davis in 1971.
• Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez had his second multihomer game of the season Saturday. Ramirez also hit two blasts against the Giants on April 6.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.