Reds Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: David Peralta Remains In Leadoff Spot For Mookie Betts

After splitting the first two games, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to win the weekend set against the Cincinnati Reds and tie their season series 3-3 as they close out a strong month of July.

The Dodgers have gone 13-9 this month while gaining a three-game lead in the National League West over the second-place San Francisco Giants. The Arizona Diamondbacks went into the month with a three-game division lead, but now sit four back of the Dodgers.

The Reds are also fighting for their playoff hopes, sitting a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Although the Reds are tied for the second Wild Card spot, they are only half a game ahead of the Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins, making their series against the Dodgers a potential postseason preview.

Michael Grove takes the ball for the Dodgers, looking to build on his recent run of success. Although he holds a 6.19 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 56.2 innings this season, the 26-year-old seems to have taken a step forward in his last two outings.

Grove began utilizing a cutter in his start on July 18, and since then, has thrown 9.2 innings while giving up just three runs, with both of his outings coming against two of the best lineups in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.

The cutter has helped Grove neutralize left-handed hitters, which have given him problems for most of the season. The Reds present one more challenge for Grove as he makes his case to remain in the rotation, or move to the bullpen, past the August 1 trade deadline.

The Reds turn to Graham Ashcraft, who like Grove has also struggled for the majority of the season but has begun to turn it around recently. Overall, Ashcraft owns a 5.64 ERA in 99 innings with a 1.55 WHIP and just 74 strikeouts, but in his last seven starts he’s thrown 36.2 innings with a 3.93 ERA.

Ashcraft faced the Dodgers on June 8, going just 2.2 innings and giving up three runs. He followed that up by allowing six runs in four innings on June 24, but since then, he has given up two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts while posting a 1.41 ERA over 23.1 innings in July.

Mookie Betts remains out of the Dodgers lineup after being scratched Friday with right ankle soreness. He is currently day-to-day.

Kiké Hernández starts at second base in place of Betts while David Peralta, James Outman and Jason Heyward patrol the outfield with a right-hander on the mound. Perlata is in the leadoff spot for a second consecutive game.

Tyson Miller was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to the game in order to get Lance Lynn on the Dodgers roster. Manager Dave Roberts also said the bullpen would not have Caleb Ferguson available due to recent usage.

Dodgers lineup

LF: David Peralta
1B: Freddie Freeman
C: Will Smith
3B: Max Muncy
DH: J.D. Martinez
CF: James Outman
RF: Jason Heyward
2B: Kiké Hernández
SS: Miguel Rojas

Reds lineup

SS: Elly De La Cruz
CF: TJ Friedl
2B: Matt McLain
RF: Jake Fraley
3B: Spencer Steer
DH: Joey Votto
1B: Christian Encarnacion-Strand
C: Tyler Stephenson
LF: Will Benson

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