Dodgers @ Reds September 8, 2013: Clayton Kershaw on National Television

September 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

greatamericanballparkThe Dodgers head into tonight’s finale in Cincinnati on a three-game losing streak, yet since Atlanta lost to the Phillies earlier today, they have yet another chance to pull within one game of the best record in the National League. If San Francisco can manage to topple Arizona (tied at two in the eighth at the time of this writing), the Dodgers will get back up to an 11.5 game lead in a long-done NL West.

That’s the beauty of the absolute domination we’ve seen over the last few months, because you can go on a bit of a skid in September — if you can even call it that, because it includes some half-effort games in Colorado and Chris Capuano lasting only 1.2 innings before getting hurt — and have it not really matter. When you don’t lose for three solid months, you can lose a few times in a week. It happens, and it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Dodgers
Reds
LF
Crawford
CF
Choo
RF
Puig
LF
Heisey
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Votto
SS
Ramirez
2B
Phillips
3B
Uribe
RF
Bruce
CF
Ethier
3B
Frazier
C
A.Ellis
SS
Cozart
2B
M.Ellis
C
Hanigan
P
Kershaw
P
Bailey

Now that being said, three losses is a bad week, and four is something that begins to generate concern — valid or not — especially when you’ve got Clayton Kershaw going on the national broadcast tonight. Speaking of being so great that any slight speed bump generates notice, you’ll hear a lot about Kershaw “not being great lately” tonight, but because he’s the best pitcher on the planet, his last three games have included 19 strikeouts and six earned runs in 18.2 innings.

In the meantime, Juan Uribe hits fifth tonight, ahead of Andre Ethier against the right-handed Homer Bailey, and there’s no secret why: Ethier has zero hits in 18 career plate appearances against the Cincinnati starter. I’m generally against placing much importance on batter-vs-pitcher stats… but that’s pretty bad, isn’t it?

Finally, some injury news: Hyun-jin Ryu threw a rare bullpen session and was pronounced healthy, reports Bill Plunkett, and should start on Wednesday. Matt Kemp, who was supposedly “out indefinitely,” took 15 simulated place appearances yesterday and apparently now could be ready to play in ten days, reports David Vassegh, though you’ll forgive me if I wait to see that one before I believe it.

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