The Dodgers decidedly won the second game of four in Cincinnati thanks to another dominating outing from Josh Beckett and some clutch base hits by the Dodgers offense off Mike Leake. Inconsistency still plagues the Dodger bats, but Adrian Gonzalez finally snapped out of his awful slump by collecting two hits including a RBI double on Tuesday night. Gonzo still struck out three times which adds to the inconsistent offense theme and only gives me a halfway positive outlook for Gonzo’s eventual breakout. Matt Kemp, who had been hitting well of late, had one of those Golden Sombrero evenings and struck out four times. The Dodgers have now won three games in a row, and they will go for that elusive fourth consecutive victory on Wednesday which has yet to happen this season.
Besides Dan Haren‘s recent regression, the Dodgers’ starting rotation has been stellar. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, and Wednesday’s starter Hyun-jin Ryu have all warranted All-Star nods with their dominant pitching this season. Unfortunately not all four will be able to go to Minnesota.
Ryu has been solid this season, his sophomore year, with the Dodgers. Ryu historically floats around a 3.00 ERA and this season is no exception. Ryu has won four games in a row, and he impressed in his last start, his first ever at Coors Field. He allowed 2 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings. Ryu has also already beat Cincinnati once this season back on May 26th at Dodger Stadium (versus Cueto) when he struck out 7 and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits over 7 1/3 innings. In his career, Ryu is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 2 starts versus the Red Legs. Ryu has never pitched at Great American Ball Park, and both his wins against the Reds were at home. None of the current Reds have more than 1 hit against Ryu.
Don’t underestimate Ryu with the bat either. The big left-hander has 3 hits this season including a double in 27 plate appearances (.130 batting
Johnny Cueto isn’t too shabby at the plate either, and he has 4 hits on the season in 34 plate appearances (.138 batting average). He was shaky in his last start against Philadelphia, and he only lasted 5 innings while allowing 4 runs on 6 hits in the loss. Nevertheless Cueto is very good, and he has already pitched 3 complete games and has pitched eight innings three times. The Dodgers beat Cueto at Dodger Stadium on May 26th when he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits over 6 1/3 innings. Cueto is 1-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 7 career starts against Los Angeles. Matt Kemp has hit Cueto well in the past, and he has 6 hits including 2 homeruns in 14 plate appearances against the right-hander.
Prediction: Matt Kemp takes Cueto deep at Great American Ball Park.
The Dodgers are 7 1/2 games back of the Giants after San Francisco fell to the Nats on Tuesday. The Giants have lost their last two, and the Dodgers have won their last three. Here’s hoping that the Dodgers can string along at least four wins and take the series in Cincinnati before coming home. With the All-Star Break approaching in a month, the Dodgers would really like to lessen the gap in the standings before forging on in the second half. Key players will be returning soon including A.J. Ellis who has been on the disabled list twice this season.
Do you think the Giants are catchable? Has complacency set in for this Dodgers team, or will there be urgency coming in this last month before the break?
Like always, come back after the game for our recap, and be sure to spout off your feelings in the comments section.