Perhaps a little sunshine can cast a light on what has been troubling the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers will close out a rough seven-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday with a rare midweek day game at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers are now 1-5 on the homestand and are on their first three-game losing streak since Aug. 29-31, 2019. The visit home started with concerns about a sluggish offense and has led to questions about the bullpen.
After not taking batting practice Tuesday as a way of altering its course, the Los Angeles offense was befuddled again into the fourth inning before making some noise.
Will Smith had a three-run home run in the fourth, his third of the season and his first since the fifth game of the season. The homer was the Dodgers’ first hit off Reds starter Jeff Hoffman. Matt Beaty had a two-run single in the sixth.
The Dodgers are hoping that left-hander Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 2.56 ERA) can send the club into a 10-game road trip on a positive note. The longtime anchor of the Los Angeles rotation will square off against Cincinnati right-hander Sonny Gray (0-1, 7.88).
“Right now, it’s kind of in the salvage-the-series mode,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Last time we faced Sonny Gray here, a couple of years ago I remember a day game, he threw the baseball well. We have our horse on the mound, so it’s going to be another tight one.”
Kershaw gave up three runs over seven innings Friday as the Dodgers fell 6-1 to the San Diego Padres. He is 3-2 lifetime against the Reds with a 2.54 ERA in 11 starts.
While the Los Angeles starting staff has been dependable, the bullpen is having its issues. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen took the loss against the Reds on Monday and left-hander Scott Alexander took the loss Tuesday.
Jesse Winker continues to deliver for the Reds. After hitting a go-ahead home run in the 10th inning Monday, he hit the first pitch of Tuesday’s game over the wall. He has home runs in three consecutive games for the second time in his career.
Winker also has three consecutive multi-hit games and 10 games with two or more hits on the season.
Just as important for the Reds was a go-ahead two-run double from Joey Votto in the seventh inning Tuesday. Votto was hitless in the last four games dating back to Friday’s contest at St. Louis before his clutch hit.
Gray is 1-1 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 1.80 ERA in two starts. As a member of the Oakland Athletics in 2015, he pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout at Dodger Stadium in a 2-0 victory.
Gray had a back issue in spring training that extended into the start of the season and is coming off an outing at St. Louis on Friday when he gave up five earned runs, but the warmer weather in Los Angeles could help.
“I’ve had a good week, and that’s all that really I can do for myself,” Gray said. “I feel a lot better. I got on the mound (Monday). I threw a bullpen and I felt good with where I was at. I was able to do that, which was nice.”
–Field Level Media