Lineup:Crawford 7 Puig 9 Gonzalez 3 Hanley 6 Ethier 8 Young 5 Schumaker 4 A.J. Ellis 2 Greinke 1
Even though the Dodgers fielded their “A” team on Friday night, they couldn’t do much of anything offensively off of Mike Leake. After Hanley Ramirez‘s two-run homerun in the first inning, the Dodgers were shut down thereafter. Joey Votto‘s two-run blast put the Reds ahead where they stayed for the win in game one. Chris Capuano, who was starting in place of Hyun-jin Ryu who had some back stiffness after his last start, exited the game early in the second inning with a groin strain. Capuano has already been on the disabled list twice this season, but it is unclear whether he’ll land on the D.L. for a third stint. The Dodgers had to burn through seven pitchers, so the Dodgers will be hoping that Zack Greinke can go deep into the game on Saturday morning.
The Reds are fighting to make it to the postseason. Unlike the Dodgers, who are ahead in their division by 12 games and have a bit of wiggle room, the
Reds need to play their heart out right now. They sit in third place in the N.L. Central and 2 games back of Pittsburgh and 1/2 game back of the Cardinals who are in second place. With Pittsburgh in the lead right now, the Reds would be the second wild card in the N.L. if the season ended today. They probably will squeak into the playoffs since Arizona is 7 1/2 games behind them for that newly added second wild card spot. Even after Friday’s loss, the Dodgers still have the second-best record in the league, but the Braves remain the top seed.
Saturday morning will feature a marquee matchup as Zack Greinke counters Mat Latos. Both pitchers have very similar numbers on the season, and both will be vying for their 15th win of the year. Zack Greinke was just awarded the August Pitcher of the Month award after dominating in his last 5 starts. The right-hander went 5-0 with a 1.23 ERA during that span. He struck out 30 batters in 36 2/3 innings while walking 8. Greinke has won six games in a row while knocking off St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, and San Diego. Hopefully Greinke can add Cincinnati to that hit list. Last time out against the Padres, Greinke only allowed 1 run on 2 hits with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks in 7 solid innings of work. Greinke did face the Reds back on July 25th at Dodger Stadium and lost. He allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings against them. He allowed two homeruns in that game (one to ex-Dodger Xavier Paul and the other to Jay Bruce). Over his career, Zack is 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA against the Reds. Greinke is unbeaten at the Great American Ballpark (4-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 4 starts).
The Dodgers will have their work cut out for them when they face Mat Latos again. Mat is having a career year with the Reds, and with one more
victory he will have a career-high. Latos already beat the Dodgers once back in July in Los Angeles when the right-hander went 7 2/3 innings while allowing 2 runs on 8 hits with 4 strikeouts and a walk. He won his last decision against the Cardinals when he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits for a complete game. In fact, Latos usually goes deep into games. Latos is 3-6 with a 2.32 ERA against the Dodgers in his career in 10 starts.
The Giants defeated the D-backs on Friday night so the Dodgers *Magic Number is 11*. I’d rather the Dodgers clinch sooner than later, but Cincinnati will not be an easy win. In what could be a postseason preview, the Dodgers offense looked listless last night to start the series. They will have to perk up offensively against these harder teams if they want to succeed in October. J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez both looked flustered or tired or both in their relief appearances last night as well. Yet Chris Withrow pitched superbly and struck out five Cincinnati batters in a row for two perfect innings of relief. Brian Wilson also pitched out of a jam which Paco created. That was the most high leveraged situation he has had to face since becoming a Dodger.
Tune into FOX for the 10:05 a.m. game. Can Zack Greinke outduel Mat Latos? Check back for all the game highlights on our recap post.