Dodgers @ Reds August 19, 2016: Bud Norris Returns

After they dropped the series finale against the Phillies again, the Dodgers begin a four-game set against the Reds at Great American Ballpark on Friday evening. Hanging on to a 1/2 game lead in the NL West, L.A. looks to use some of their recently potent offensive against the last-place Reds in order to remain atop the standings.

The Dodgers swept Cincinnati when they played them at Dodger Stadium back in May, but the Reds have improved since the All-Star break (18-12) and have won three straight going into the series opener.

4:10 p.m. PT
 De Jesus
 Pederson  LF   Renda
Norris (R)
Adleman (R)

Bud Norris (3-2, 4.34 ERA, 4.11 FIP) takes the mound for the first time since he had to leave his July 31 start after one out with a strained back. When I saw him pitch his rehab start for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Saturday, he looked solid going 5 2/3 innings. He allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk on 59 pitches (46 strikes).

After the game Norris told me he felt good.

“I felt great. That was the number one priority is to get out there and to make sure everything felt good. The arm felt great. The back was obviously the priority.”

When I asked him about the final push down the stretch and the injuries that have befallen the team, he was optimistic and excited about the last part of the season and the possibility of a pennant race.

“The second half, we’re really trying to make the push. We’ve had a couple guys go down unfortunately myself included, but the position players have really picked us up. The bullpen’s picked us up all year. So that being said, I’m excited to get back out there and to give it another, hopefully, a lift for this club. And we have a lot of fun left in the second half to go to make a pennant race.”

Norris is 1-3 with a 4.41 ERA in 10 career games against the Reds, but he is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and three home runs allowed in two starts at Great American Ballpark. He faced the Reds on June 15 when he was still with the Braves and allowed three runs on three hits in five innings pitched for a no-decision.

The Reds will counter with rookie right-hander Tim Adleman (1-1, 3.72 ERA, 5.06 FIP). Cincinnati moved him into the rotation after they demoted Cody Reed. He is set to make his first start since landing on the disabled list in May with a left oblique strain after just four starts. He’s pitched well for Triple-A Louisville this year (3-1, 2.38 ERA), not allowing a run in 14 innings over his last two starts. The 28-year old previously pitched in the independent leagues after being released by the Orioles in 2012, and worked his way to the majors thereafter.

Adleman is a ground ball pitcher that has a fastball that can get up to 94 mph with some late life. He increased his velocity from 88-90 mph from when he was in independent ball by building up his arm strength in the offseason.

Josh Reddick once again is hitting cleanup for some reason, something he hardly ever did with Oakland. He’s hitting .057/.154/.057 in 39 plate appearances out of the fourth slot in the lineup this year. Perhaps it’s time to move him lower in the lineup until his bat heats up, if ever. Howie Kendrick bats eighth, hitting .366/.409/.683 over the last 14 days.

Your daily roster moves:

“Pencil in” Rich Hill for next Wednesday.

Clayton Kershaw played catch today in Cincy, and he plans to throw off a mound on Saturday.

42 games to go.

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About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.