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May 16, 2024 7:44 am

Reeling Reds brace for tall task in series opener vs. Dodgers

Cincinnati Reds Bell

If there is continued grumbling coming from the Cincinnati Reds, it likely is being directed at a “schedule maker” who did them no favors this month.

The challenge was evident when the 2024 slate was released late last year, and it has come to fruition this week.

After losing two of three games to the National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks, the Reds will stay on the road Thursday night to play the opener of a four-game series against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Reds enter off a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday afternoon. While the Reds received strong pitching, their offense had little to give.

Jonathan India was out of the lineup because of a migraine while Elly De La Cruz sat out to rest for the first time. Cincinnati had just three hits as it fell for the 12th time in 14 games.

As if following a series at Arizona with one at Los Angeles wasn’t challenging enough, the four games against the Dodgers are coming at the end of a 10-game road trip. The Reds are just 2-4 during their trek.

“It’s very important to me that our team doesn’t talk about that,” Reds manager David Bell said about the current run of opponents, which will include three more games against the Dodgers during Cincinnati’s next homestand.

“We expect to go out and win. We believe we’re good, and because of that, we don’t spend a lot of time talking about who we’re going to play, other than the preparation for the team.”

The Reds were not set on a starter for the series opener, with a bullpen game possible in which right-hander Nick Martinez pitches multiple innings. Nick Lodolo was in line to start but went on the 15-day injured list Wednesday with a left groin strain.

The Dodgers will turn over their rotation Thursday and have staff ace Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 2.53 ERA) face the Reds. The right-hander is 1-1 lifetime against Cincinnati with a 3.97 ERA in 11 appearances (two starts).

The Dodgers essentially have been operating with a makeshift six-man rotation to add an extra day of rest for the members of the rotation. That sixth day, when needed, mostly has been a bullpen day.

To handle that sixth day this time, the Dodgers called up both Elieser Hernandez and Eduardo Salazar on Wednesday. The good news for Los Angeles is that the duo ended up pitching the entire game that day. The bad news: The Dodgers lost 4-1 to the host San Francisco Giants.

“After six (games) in a row, I think we’re in a good spot (with pitching) going home against the Reds,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “… We did a nice job saving our (bullpen) leverage guys. It wasn’t a (true) bullpen game, and that was fortunate.”

The Dodgers went a pedestrian 3-3 on a road trip to San Diego and San Francisco after Los Angeles had won 14 of its 16 previous games. The trip was the start of a run in which the Dodgers will play games on 13 consecutive days.

After a hot start led to a brief downturn, the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts has multiple hits in each of his last four games. Betts will take a .348 batting average into the series against the Reds, while teammate Shohei Ohtani leads the major leagues with a .364 batting average.

–Field Level Media

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