Dodgers Secure Weekend Series Victory in Cincinnati

Powered by five strong innings from starter Clayton Kershaw and big offensive games from Corey Seager and Gavin Lux, the Dodgers held off the Reds on Sunday, 8-5, to claim a much-needed weekend series victory.

After falling to the Reds in Friday’s opener 3-1, Los Angeles took the final two games of the series in convincing fashion.

As the Dodgers continue their winning ways, the race for the National League West division title may conceivably boil down to the final days of the season. At the beginning of Sunday’s games, Los Angeles trailed the Giants by two full games. The Giants will try for a sweep later Sunday against the NL East-leading Braves.

Kershaw looked outstanding. One of his few blemishes came after Nick Castellanos doubled in the fourth inning, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a Tyler Stephenson groundout to shortstop. Kershaw went five full innings, surrendering three hits and no walks while striking out eight batters on 74 pitches.

The win was Kershaw’s first since June 27 when he went eight full innings against the Cubs. His appearance on Sunday was one inning and 24 pitches more than his previous outing last Monday against the Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers got on the board first when Will Smith hit his 25th homer of the year into the left field stands. After a Chris Taylor double to left, Lux hit his seventh homer of the season to extend the lead to three.

The Dodgers struck again in the third after Corey Seager hammered a 420-foot homer to right-center field off Cincinnati starter Wade Miley, also scoring Albert Pujols. The blast was Seager’s 10th of the season. Three batters later, Lux drove home Chris Taylor on a groundball single to center, stretching the lead to six.

Lux finished the day by going 3-for-4, raining his season average to .239.

The six-run effort chased Miley from the game after just three full innings. Miley surrendered the six runs on nine hits and a walk while throwing 64 pitches.

As promised by skipper Dave Roberts, Kershaw was piggybacked by righty Tony Gonsolin, who promptly surrendered a homer to rookie TJ Friedl, which was coincidentally his first MLB hit. After a nearly clean seventh frame, Gonsolin was pulled in favor of Blake Treinen with one out in the eighth after he allowed a double to Jonathan India that scored Friedl and cut the lead to three.

India came around to score when Castellanos singled to right, cutting the Los Angeles led to two. Both Cincinnati runs in the eighth were charged to Gonsolin.

The Dodgers added insurance in the top of the ninth when former Dodger Kyle Farmer air-mailed a throw to first, allowing Mookie Betts to score. Trea Turner scored after Seager drew a one-out bases-loaded walk, extending the lead to four.

Kenley Jansen threw the ninth, allowing a solo homer to Joey Votto before sealing the win.

Kershaw improved his season record to 10-7. Miley fell to 12-7.

The Dodgers have won eight of their last nine and 11 of their last 15 games.

After an off day on Monday, the Dodgers will land in Denver for a three-game set against the Rockies, who have climbed to within six games of the plummeting Padres in the West.

Including the series in Colorado, just four series remain in the regular season for the Dodgers.

Scherzer, Dodgers Handle Reds in Weekend Middle Game

Continuing his late-season dominance, Max Scherzer threw seven shutout innings to lead the Dodgers past the Reds 5-1 in the second contest of a three-game set in Cincinnati.

After Sunday’s affair, 13 games remain on the Dodgers’ regular-season schedule.

Gavin Lux continued his clutch hitting for the Dodgers, contributing the game’s biggest offensive blow in the fifth inning. After a Justin Turner double to left and an infield single by Chris Taylor, Lux roped a triple to right to clear the bases.

Austin Barnes drove in Lux one batter later on a fielder’s choice grounder to extend the lead to 3-0. Los Angeles tacked on another run in the sixth when Taylor laid down a bunt that plated Trea Turner on a safety squeeze play.

The Dodgers’ final run of the day came when Barnes scored on a Mookie Betts single to left field.

Despite the much-needed offensive spurt, the real story of the day was Scherzer, who seemingly took control of the National League Cy Young race with his latest outing.

Scherzer’s seven innings of work took 96 pitches. He allowed two hits and two walks while striking out seven batters. The effort improved his season record to 15-4 with a MLB-leading 2.08 ERA.

Over his last two games, Scherzer has thrown 15 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out 16. Since being traded to the Dodgers before the summer deadline, he has gone 7-0 in nine starts, registering a 0.780 ERA with 79 strikeouts over 58 innings pitched.

Rookie second baseman Jonathan India and former Dodger Kyle Farmer collected the only two hits for the Reds.

Joe Kelly threw a scoreless eighth inning. Alex Vesia ran into trouble in the ninth when he allowed a walk to Joey Votto and a single to Mike Moustakas. Votto scored after a throwing error by Corey Seager that would have ended the game.

Kenley Jansen struck out Eugenio Suarez to secure the final out of the game while collecting his 34th save of the year.

At the beginning of the day, the Dodgers trailed the Giants by two full games in the NL West division race. San Francisco continues their three-game weekend series against the Braves later Saturday evening.

In Sunday’s series finale, the Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound, who makes his second start since being activated from the injured list. Kershaw will face fellow lefty Wade Miley, who has a 12-5 season record with a 3.05 ERA.

Sunday’s first pitch is set for 10:10 a.m. Pacific time.

Dodgers Begin Important Nine-Game Road Trip

This weekend will be September baseball at its finest. With only 15 games left to play, many teams will be fighting for their playoff lives.

As we all know, the Dodgers are in a division race of their own. After a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Giants splitting a four-game series with the Padres the Dodgers are now only one game back with 15 to go.

However, Friday marks the start of a nine-game road trip for the Dodgers, and it won’t be easy as they will face the Cincinnati Reds for three games this weekend at Great American Ball Park. The Reds are in a playoff push themselves. However, they are 3-7 in their last ten games.

Currently, the Reds are one game back of the St, Louis Cardinals for that second wild-card spot, while the Padres are also half a game back.

At the same time the Dodgers play the Reds this weekend, the Cardinals and Padres will be playing each other in San Diego in a series that will go a long way in determining the second spot.

As well, the Giants and Braves will play each other, each of who are in a division race of their own. So fans of those particular teams will be scoreboard watching heavily.

The Reds and Dodgers previously met back in late April when the Reds actually took two out of three games from the Dodgers. If you remember, it was during the stretch in which the Dodgers were quite awful, when they went around 5-15 in a 20 game span.

So after the weekend, the Dodgers could possibly end up in first place. The Blue Crew will have great pitching throughout the weekend.

Starting the first two games are Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer, who are both likely to be among the top Cy Young candidates, and ending with Clayton Kershaw, who will make his second start since being activated from the injured list.

The Reds will send out Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Wade Miley, so it will be a great time for starting pitching in Cincinnati.

On a side note, it is quite insane that the Dodgers or Giants, who probably will end up with the second-best record in all of baseball, will have to play in a one-game playoff elimination game.

Perhaps this is something MLB looks into throughout the offseason. After the Dodgers finish up the Reds, they will play the Rockies and Diamondbacks before returning home to play the Padres and Brewers to close out the season

Buehler looks to continue his great 2021 campaign Friday against the Reds. He is 14-3 with a 2.32 ERA on the year. Buehler faces Castillo, who has been a All-Star in the past. He is 7-15 with a 4.24 ERA this year.

The first pitch for the opener is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Pacific.

Dodgers Roster: Early Thoughts on Building a Playoff Bullpen

As fans of the Dodgers, we’re often spoiled as far as perennial playoff appearances go. Los Angeles has made the postseason for eight years straight. 2021 will be no different, although we’re still not sure whether the team will need to advance past a one-game Wild Card.

Continue reading “Dodgers Roster: Early Thoughts on Building a Playoff Bullpen”

A Quick Look at Several NL Wild Card Scenarios

With their latest 5-1 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, the Dodgers have now won four straight and are 7-3 in their ten games. However, they still have not made up any ground on the division-leading Giants. In fact, they actually have lost ground over the last week as they trail by 2 ½ games.

Continue reading “A Quick Look at Several NL Wild Card Scenarios”

Is Dodgers’ Offense Up for 2021 Playoff Challenge?

For as much as we thought pitching might be a potential problem for the team early in the season, an inconsistent offense is keeping the 2021 Dodgers from being something special.

Continue reading “Is Dodgers’ Offense Up for 2021 Playoff Challenge?”

Can Dodgers Trust Kenley Jansen to Close During Critical 2021 Stretch Run?

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(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The topic of Kenley Jansen effectively closing games is not foreign to fans of the Dodgers. Jansen’s inconsistencies on the mound began during the 2018 season, the same year he underwent a second surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. Whether it was the result of his heart, his age, too much mileage on his arm, or something psychological, the 33-year-old Jansen’s overall performance hasn’t been the same since.

Continue reading “Can Dodgers Trust Kenley Jansen to Close During Critical 2021 Stretch Run?”