Dodgers 8, Reds 7: Dodgers sweep, but bullpen makes it far too interesting

The Dodgers completed their season series sweep against the Reds, thanks to a strong performance by Kenta Maeda and some good offense, and no thanks to one of the worst Dodger bullpen performances of the year.

Bronson Arroyo struck out the Dodger side in the first inning, although Justin Turner did single do extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

Arroyo retired the first two batters of the second inning, but then allowed a single to Austin Barnes and a double to Enrique Hernández. This brought Maeda to the plate. He doubled in two runs, and came in to score on a Joc Pederson base hit to make it 3-0, Dodgers.

Cody Bellinger doubled in the third inning, and Logan Forsythe launched his second home run of the year to increase the Dodger lead to five.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Maeda retired the first nine batters he faced. He ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth when he loaded the bases and then hit old friend Scott Schebler to bring in a run. However, he got out of the jam, thanks in part to a nice catch by Yasiel Puig.

Maeda pitched through the fifth inning, his afternoon coming to a close after 78 pitches. Maeda’s two plate appearances as a batter today made it 22 PAs without a strikeout thus far this year.

Kiké doubled again in the sixth inning, which means 24 of his 33 hits on the season have been for extra bases.

Blake Wood held the Dodgers scoreless for two innings, but Wandy Peralta gave up what ended up being a very important two-run home run to Turner in the sixth. It was Turner’s third home run of the season, and it made the score 8-1, Dodgers.

Despite the seven-run lead, this ended up being a pretty close ballgame. It started with the Reds getting one back in the bottom of the sixth, as Adam Duvall hit a solo shot off of Grant Dayton. They got to within three runs in the seventh inning, thanks to a Scooter Gennett three-run home run off of Josh Fields that made it an 8-5 game.

The score got even closer in the eighth inning when Eugenio Suárez led off with a dinger off of Pedro Báez. With two outs, Billy Hamilton doubled in a run to get the Reds to within one. Báez walked Gennett, which brought Joey Votto to the plate with two on. He drove one to the warning track, but a stellar catch by Kiké saved likely a couple of runs.

While it should never have been necessary for Kenley Jansen to come into this game, he took care of business in the ninth, retiring the side and picking up two more strikeouts (making that 50 on the year without a walk issued). This finished off the sweep, and put the Dodgers at a season-high 18 games above .500.

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One pitcher the Dodgers did not use today was Brock Stewart, who was at the Cincinnati airport in the fifth inning, yet was warming up at Great American Ball Park by the seventh inning:

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The Dodgers (44-26) now return home for a nine-game homestand, starting with four games against the Mets (31-37). Tomorrow, Clayton Kershaw (2.23 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 2.79 DRA) faces Zack Wheeler (4.48 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 5.80 DRA). First pitch is 7:10 PM Pacific.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for MLB.com. She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.