After facing the gauntlet of Cardinals, Cubs, Cardinals again, Brewers, and Nationals, the Dodgers were seemingly scheduled for a bit of relief with the Reds, especially after a day off. However, the Reds came into this off a four-game sweep of the Cardinals, which seemed about right for the Dodgers so far in 2017. Fortunately, they went out and did what they were supposed to do in a comfortable 7-2 win over the Reds.
Rich Hill has struggled with consistency all year, especially when it came to control, but he threw 66 of his 98 pitches tonight for strikes. However, he did still walk 3 batters, which speaks to how he loses it at times, and his 98 pitches in 5 innings were evidence that it was anything but a comfortable outing.
That said, Hill only surrendered 1 run on a weakly-hit grounder that found a hole, and continued to not be all that hittable by only allowing 2 hits on the night (both singles). He also struck out 5 batters, which was easier for him to do tonight since he actually got ahead more often.
Hill is definitely still fighting it (and was on the ropes in the 3rd), but tonight provided some hope, and it’s a matter of managing to string together quality outings at this point.
The offense hasn’t been completely healthy for a while now, and Justin Turner showed exactly what it had been missing early on. After a Chris Taylor walk to lead-off the game in the 1st, JT stepped up and hit a one-out, two-run homer to left in his first at-bat back off the disabled list.
In the 2nd, opposing starter Amir Garrett was knocked out of the game, but not through ineffectiveness. Rather, Garrett tried to bare hand a lined comebacker from Austin Barnes.
Honestly, extremely lucky that caught him in the palm and not a finger or wrist or something. Still, the Reds (probably wisely) decided to remove him from the game, and the bullpen was in.
That paid off for the Dodgers in the 3rd, as Taylor led the frame off with a single, Franklin Gutierrez added a single with two outs, and Logan Forsythe followed with a walk to load the bases. That set the table for Barnes, who chopped one into the ground for an infield single to plate a run, and then everybody moved up another base after a throwing error to get another across.
Insurance runs didn’t wait for long either, as the offense struck again in the 4th. Taylor hit a one-out double down the line in left, Corey Seager drew a walk, and JT was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That brought up a struggling Guti, but he banged a single into left to plate two.
Enrique Hernandez helped the cause even more in the 8th with a solo shot to right-center field.
Not that the Dodgers needed the insurance as Kenta Maeda made his first career appearance out of the pen and looked as sharp as he ever has. Maeda started his appearance off with three perfect innings of relief with five strikeouts. Unfortunately, he ran into Joey Votto in the 9th and Votto somehow inside-outed an oppo pop-up homer for the only strike against Maeda. While he did give up two more singles in the inning, he rebounded for his 6th strikeout, broke a bat, and induced a fly out to end it.
Much like Hyun-Jin Ryu relieving Maeda for his first career save, Maeda completed his own four-inning save tonight.
Overall the Dodgers get to 37-25 on the year and 23-10 at Dodger Stadium. Unfortunately the Rockies also won, which means the Dodgers are still 2.5 games back in the NL West. At least the Diamondbacks lost, which vaults the Dodgers to second in the division.
The Reds come in tomorrow again as the Dodgers go for the series win at 4:10 PM HST/7:10 PM PST/10:10 PM EST. The matchup definitely favors the Dodgers, with Alex Wood (1.69 ERA/1.95 FIP/2.45 DRA) coming off the disabled list after his sternum injury, facing Asher Wojciechowski (4.50 ERA/5.26 FIP/5.86 DRA) making his third start of the year.