The Cincinnati Reds discovered what the San Diego Padres just learned: Facing the big, bad Los Angeles Dodgers is not quite the intimidating prospect it has been made out to be.
The Reds ended a seven-game losing streak Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the World Series champions with a 5-3 victory in 10 innings. The game came after a weekend when the Padres defeated the Dodgers three times in four games as Los Angeles lost a series for the first time this season.
With Reds starter Tyler Mahle leading the charge Monday, the Reds are going to have to find somebody else to step up over the remaining two games of the series. Perhaps that somebody is Jesse Winker, who hit a go-ahead two-run home run to lead off the 10th inning.
“You get tested in these times and when you pass the test, usually it’s about staying together,” Reds manager David Bell said. “You keep competing and you never give up, you get rewarded. We saw it happen with our team last year. If anything, we’re passing the tests even more this year.”
The Reds will send right-hander Jeff Hoffman (2-1, 2.66 ERA) to the mound Tuesday night to face Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (1-0, 2.16).
In his first season with the Reds, after five seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Hoffman has given up just one earned run in three of his first four outings. In his lone road start, he gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings in an April 10 loss at Arizona.
Hoffman is 1-0 in seven appearances (two starts) against the Dodgers with a 6.50 ERA and does not have a decision with a 4.15 ERA in three relief appearances (4 1/3 innings) at Dodger Stadium.
Buehler is 1-2 with a 1.47 ERA in three career starts against the Reds, who have scored three earned runs and four unearned runs off the righty in 18 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers continue to struggle with injuries as veteran left-hander David Price went on the injured list Monday. Price (hamstring) has a 5.59 ERA in seven relief appearances.
The Dodgers did get infielder Gavin Lux (wrist) back from the IL and he delivered an RBI single in the fourth inning Monday. Cody Bellinger (calf) remains on the IL as does rookie standout Zach McKinstry (oblique). Chris Taylor missed a pair of games last week with a bad back.
The Dodgers could use leadoff hitter Mookie Betts to come alive. Betts had a double on Monday but has just three extra-base hits over his last seven games with just one RBI since April 14.
The latest concern, though, is a bullpen that was not able to hold a six-run lead in an 8-7 defeat in 11 innings to the Padres on Sunday.
Late-inning right-hander Brusdar Graterol is working his way into form after reportedly contracting COVID-19 during the offseason, while right-hander Corey Knebel (lat) is out for an extended period.
The Dodgers melted down Sunday when closer Kenley Jansen was given the day off after a four-out save Saturday. Jansen returned Monday, in a non-save situation, and gave up the go-ahead home run to Winker.
“It seems like, and it is, teams coming and bringing their best against us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
–Field Level Media