After taking two out of three from the first-place Colorado Rockies over the weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers now head to Great American Ballpark for a three-game series against the last-place Cincinnati Reds.
With less than a month left in the season, every remaining game is important for the Dodgers so even though the Reds are out of the postseason picture, Los Angeles cannot take them lightly, especially since Cincinnati swept them at Dodger Stadium earlier this season.
The Dodgers send Alex Wood to the mound for his 27th start of the season. He enters with an 8-6 record, 3.37 ERA, 3.49 FIP and 1.18 WHIP in 144.1 innings pitched.
Wood is coming off a solid, but somewhat shortened outing against the New York Mets on Sept. 3. In five innings pitched, he allowed five hits and one run with three strikeouts on 87 pitches.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes Wood was less ineffective because of an increased workload against the Texas Rangers in his final start of August, to which he logged seven innings for only the third time this year.
Wood has fared well in his career against the Reds, going 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 22-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 29.1 innings pitched (five games, four starts).
That includes a minuscule 1.32 ERA in two starts at Great American Ball Park, to which he’s limited the opposition to a meager .178/.245/.311 slash line.
The Reds counter with Phil Ervin, who looks to rebound from a disappointing outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 4. In five innings pitched, he yielded a season-high nine hits and six runs with only two strikeouts.
Ervin enters with an 0-2 record this season, primarily receiving the majority of his opportunities out of the bullpen. In 13 games (three starts), he has compiled a 4.81 ERA, 4.72 FIP and 1.44 WHIP with 19 strikeouts to eight walks across 24.1 innings pitched.
Reed has yet to face the Dodgers in his young career. Despite the unpredictability in facing a pitcher for the first time, the 25-year-old has struggled far more at home (6.48 ERA) compared to his appearances on the road this season (6.00 ERA).
Chris Taylor returns to the leadoff spot for the Dodgers for the first time since Aug. 4. Taylor has heated up at the plate over the last few days, going 5-for-10 with a home run, two walks and three RBI in his last four games.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is also back with the team after missing the weekend series in Colorado. He flew and met the team in Cincinnati on Sunday.
Joey Votto is having another solid season for the Reds, leading the National League in on-base percentage for the third straight season at .421. His power numbers are a bit down though as he is only slugging .422 with 11 home runs.
LF: Chris Taylor
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Manny Machado
RF: Matt Kemp
1B: David Freese
CF: Kiké Hernandez
C: Yasmani Grandal
2B: Brian Dozier
P: Alex Wood
CF: Billy Hamilton
SS: Jose Peraza
1B: Joey Votto
3B: Eugenio Suarez
2B: Scooter Gennett
LF: Phil Ervin
C: Tucker Barnhart
RF: Brandon Dixon
P: Cody Reed