The Los Angeles Dodgers try to gain some ground in the NL West race when they take on the Cincinnati Reds in the second of a key three-game series on Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:10 pm ET at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Los Angeles dropped the opening game of the series, snapping its six-game winning streak. The Dodgers are 94-54 and in second place in the NL West, trailing the first-place San Francisco Giants by two games.
Cincinnati won its second straight, improving to 77-71. The Reds are in third place in the NL Central, trailing the second-place St. Louis Cardinals by one game. Those teams are also at the top of the pack fighting for the second Wild-ard spot in the National League, with the San Diego Padres a half-game behind the Reds.
MLB lines have the Dodgers with a moneyline of -185, while the Reds are listed at +165, with the over/under set at 8½ runs.
The Dodgers have already clinched a playoff berth, leading the rest of the Wild-Card field by 16 games, but Los Angeles wants a division title, so it’s still pushing to catch the Giants. The team’s current road trip will continue for another six games after this series, with the Dodgers meeting their division rivals, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, for a pair of three-game series.
Right-hander Max Scherzer will get the start. The 37-year-old is 14-4 with a 2.17 ERA, including a sterling 6-0 mark and 0.88 ERA over eight starts since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline.
Scherzer has yet to give up an earned run in September, pitching 22 innings over three starts and striking out 31. Those starts weren’t against teams out of playoff contention either, as he faced San Diego, St. Louis, and Atlanta. Scherzer did lose his only start against Cincinnati this season, going seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits, including two home runs, in a 2-1 Reds win over Washington in late May.
The Dodgers’ offense had its troubles in the opener, managing just a single run in the ninth inning on Matt Beaty’s RBI single. Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, and Trea Turner combined to go 2-for-12 with five strikeouts, something that needs to change if Los Angeles is going to get some runs on the board in this one.
The Reds got a big performance from Luis Castillo on Friday night, with the right-hander pitching 6⅓ shutout innings, allowing five hits and striking out 10. Castillo had lost his last three decisions before dominating the Los Angeles hitters.
“We were playing a high-quality team,” Castillo said through an interpreter after Friday’s win. “It felt like a playoff game. Because of that, I was focused today. I felt a lot of adrenaline with the fans behind me.”
Right-hander Sonny Gray will look to duplicate that performance. The 31-year-old is 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA and will make his second start against the Dodgers.
In his first meeting with Los Angeles, Gray took the loss in an 8-0 Dodgers win, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on four hits, including a home run. Gray is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three September starts and is coming off a loss against St. Louis in which he went seven innings and allowed two runs on three hits, including a home run.
The Reds got a boost when outfielder Jesse Winker returned to the lineup for the first time in a month on Friday night. Winker went 0-for-3 in the contest, but his presence boosts the Cincinnati lineup, as he is batting .305 (10th in the league) with 24 home runs and 71 RBIs this season.
Shortstop Kyle Farmer went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs against his former team on Friday night. Farmer enters Saturday on a six-game hit streak, recording at least one RBI in four of those games.
Dodgers Get Win
Scherzer has been absolutely dominant this month — and ever since he put on a Dodgers uniform — and that’s going to be the difference in this one. The Los Angeles offense should wake up to support the veteran hurler, as the Dodgers even the series with a win.
When doing your MLB betting, take Los Angeles to win on the road.