Chris Capuano (9-3, 2.69) vs. Johnny “Kickin’” Cueto (9-4, 2.26)
Dodgers Lineup: vs. Reds
The Dodgers and Reds both have 44 wins on the season, but the Dodgers own two additional losses and now sit 1 1/2 games back behind San Francisco in the standings. Like the Dodgers, the Reds haven’t been able to field their best lineup for the series. Joey Votto and Scott Rolen have been absent due to injury. The Reds still managed to beat up the Dodgers last night, and Homer Bailey was easily able to shut down the meek Dodger offense after only two runs allowed. While the Dodgers are struggling at the plate, there is a glimmer of hope for the future. Matt Kemp will start his rehabilitation assignment with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes today along with teammates Mark Ellis and Javy Guerra who are close to returning. He will be their designated hitter for the first game, and he will subsequently increase his playing time until his scheduled return on July 13th. We will review Matt’s game tonight in our nightly recap. Juan Uribe was pulled from the game last night after suffering an ankle sprain. He will have it looked at today, and we will keep you updated to his prognosis. With Ethier’s oblique strain, the Dodgers have been playing one man short. Roster moves will have to be made if Ethier and Uribe aren’t able to play.
Two good pitchers who have been overlooked for All-Star consideration will go head-to-head tonight. Chris Capuano and Johnny Cueto are both vying for their 10th victory of the season. Chris Capuano has the second lowest ERA on the team behind Clayton Kershaw. Kersh even said he was upset that Cappy didn’t get an All-Star nod when interviewed on television yesterday. Capuano has pitched his heart out this season, and he has been the biggest and most pleasant surprise for me this year. Last time out against the Mets last Thursday, the Dodger offense couldn’t muster any run support for Cappy. Chris pitched 7 innings, and he allowed 5 hits in the loss. In his career against the Reds, Capuano is 3-3 with a 5.18 ERA. He has struck out 85 batters in 80 innings of work against Cincinnati. He will have to fend off many of the Reds hitters who are hitting well against him including Jay Bruce who has 2 homeruns in 8 at bats against the left-hander.
“Cap has had a really good season to this point,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “I don’t know if he could pitch a whole lot better. We feel like he’s been pretty stellar as far as what he’s done this year.”
Johnny Cueto, the Dominican high kickin’ pitcher, also lost the last time out as the Reds succumbed to the Giants and Madison
Bumgarner in a one-hit shutout. Cueto pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. He allowed 4 walks-a season high. Against the Dodgers, Cueto is 1-3 with a 3.14 ERA in his career. Andre Ethier has one homerun against the right-hander, but most of the current team has only had a smattering of at bats against him.
The Reds are one game ahead of the hot playing Pirates in the NL Central with St. Louis close behind in third. The Dodgers are just trying to stay afloat until Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp return to bolster the lineup and the defense.
Watch the game on KCAL beginning at 7:10 pm, and stick around for our postgame coverage.