Dodgers Lineup vs. RedsM.Ellis 4 Ethier 9 Kemp 8 Gonzalez 3 Ramirez 6 Cruz 5 Ellis 2 Kershaw 1
Clayton Kershaw-12-9 vs. Homer Bailey-12-9
The Dodgers now know the division race is over, and can now turn their attention to the wild card. The Giants clinched the NL West late last night, and that is that as they say. The Dodgers are faced with a daunting task. Make up three games with ten remaining. Can they do it? They have watched two teams celebrate over the last few days. Now they enter tonight with a chance to win their first series in almost a month. The last time the Dodgers won a series at all was back in late August in a three game series against the Marlins at home. That series came during the huge blockbuster trade with Boston that brought over Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto.
The Dodgers are still mulling their options as to who to pitch in tonight’s rubber game against the Reds. Clayton Kershaw could still start, but if not, then Aaron Harang will make the start on three days rest. What would you do? Do you start Kershaw? Or do you shut him down for the year, and toss out Harang on short days rest, knowing full well he is likely to get hammered?
This just in from the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw will start tonight against the Reds.
It’s not an easy decision for Don Mattingly and the Dodgers. For the Reds however, life is good. They just clinched the NL Central title, and are now just playing for playoff positioning. Will they give us a break and trot out the house money lineup? They will finally have their skipper back. Former Dodger and Reds manager Dusty Baker has been recovering from an irregular heart beat and should rejoin the club for today’s game. The Reds have the best record in the league with a 92-60 record. They will give the ball to right hander Homer Bailey. The 26 year old right hander has been pitching well. He has turned in five quality starts, and is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his last four starts. Against the Dodgers he is 3-1 with a 4.06 ERA. Looking at the numbers, he is just another pitcher the Dodgers can’t hit. The Boys in Blue are batting .231 (21 for 91) with six home runs and 12 RBI against Bailey. Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, and Shane Victorino have done all of the heavy lifting. Victorino is hitting .417 (5 for 12) with a home run. Unfortunately he is still battling a sore wrist, that kept him out of the lineup the last couple of games. I don’t expect him to play again, so look for Juan Rivera to be back in left field. Gonzalez is 6 for 12 with two doubles, and three home runs. Matt Kemp is .364 (4 for 11) with a home run. The Dodger that hit the sixth home run was Juan Uribe of all people. Bailey is 12-9 with a 3.82 ERA against the league. He has 146 whiffs and 49 walks this season.
The Dodgers will counter with
Aaron Harang. Maybe. Probably. KERSHAW!!! The Big Show will be going up against his former team, and pitching in his former ball park. Harang has been decent this season but not great. In his last start on Wednesday against Washington he lasted only 4.1 innings. Harang has an ERA of 4.20 during the month of September. Against the Reds he has done alright. He is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA. His work against the Reds is ok. The Reds are batting .279 (29 for 104) with four home runs and 13 RBI off of Harang. Ryan Ludwick is hitting .380(14 for 36) with three home runs and nine RBI. I’m not sure what that exactly means for Harang and the Dodgers, but Ludwick has hit Harang the best. Xavier Paul is 4 for 5 with a double. The only other home run off of Harang was hit by Devin Mesoraco. Harang is 9-10 with a 3.80 ERA against the league.
Now in comparison, Clayton Kershaw is 1-1 with a 3.34 ERA against the Reds in five starts. However remember Harang used to pitch for the Reds, and in that same ballpark. At Great American Park, Harang is 37-39 with a 4.19 ERA and three shutouts. In comparison Kershaw is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts at Great American Ball Park. Kershaw has whiffed 27 at Cincy, and walked only five.
The Reds however against Kershaw, are hitting just .218 (24 for 110) with three home runs and 12 RBI. Joey Votto is only hitting .250 (4 for 16) against Kershaw with two home runs. Jay Bruce is hitting just .250 as well. Drew Stubbs is .143 (2 for 14). Which all comes out to an OPS of just .605. Kershaw hasn’t pitched since September 11 at Arizona because of his hip injury. Should the Dodgers start Kershaw?
It’s all a moot point if they can’t score any runs. That’s what they are going to have to do if they want to win games. The Dodgers are 78-74 and remain three games behind the Cardinals for the second wild card. Today is also Matt Kemp’s birthday. He turns 28 today. Let’s give Bison the best birthday gift of all, a series win. Blow out the candles birthday boy, and hit us a couple of birthday blasts! Happy Birthday Bison!
Today’s game has been moved to 5PM and will be nationally televised on ESPN. Dustin will have our daily Dodger recap after the game. So don’t forget to check back here once the game is over. After the game is finished, the Dodgers will fly to San Diego to conclude their final road trip with a three game series against the Padres. Don’t forget tomorrow is an off-day, and the San Diego series starts on Tuesday night. We need runs! Please Dodgers! Please! Go Blue.