The Los Angeles Dodgers have followed a season-worst six-game losing streak by winning three in a row for a second time this year. Their other such stretch grew to a six-game winning streak that predated the losing skid.
A victory Wednesday afternoon gives the Dodgers a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, who shocked them last season by taking all four games at Dodger Stadium. If L.A. is to do so, it will come with Justin Turner still not in the lineup.
He fouled a pitch off his ankle during Monday’s batting practice and suffered hamstring tightness during the game as a result of overcompensating. Turner did not play Tuesday, and neither did Cody Bellinger, but he is back for the three-game series finale.
Bellinger saw his night come to an early end because of a 96 mph fastball that hit him on the right knee. He appeared in the on-deck circle during the eighth inning on Tuesday, but merely as decoy.
On the mound the Dodgers hand the ball to Walker Buehler for his third start of the season. Buehler’s yet to recapture his magic from a successful rookie campaign, which many have attributed to an abbreviated Spring Training.
Although Buehler acknowledged his lack of pitching has likely contributed to some of his struggles, he’s refused to use that as an excuse. Buehler enters 1-0 with an 8.25 ERA, 4.22 FIP and 1.50 WHIP.
The Reds counter with Sonny Gray, who came out of his last start after just four innings because of a left calf contusion. Gray was hit by a comebacker in the second inning but still managed to retire eight batters in a row prior to being removed.
Gray has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his three starts but has suffered a pair of tough-luck losses.
LF: Joc Pederson
1B: Cody Bellinger
CF: A.J. Pollock
3B: Max Muncy
2B: Kiké Hernandez
RF: Alex Verdugo
SS: Chris Taylor
C: Austin Barnes
P: Walker Buehler