The season is winding down and the Dodgers are coming off another series victory at the expense of the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers captured the first two games, but with their B-squad lineup in the finale, they came up short.
The Dodgers have a 12 game lead in the NL West, but with seven games remaining against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it is important to keep on winning. Even with the best record in the NL still at stake and although the Dodgers are two games behind the Atlanta Braves, Don Mattingly has begun the process of resting his regulars.
However, the Dodgers travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds, in what could be a preview of a playoff matchup. The Reds are coming off an impressive series against the St. Louis Cardinals and they are hoping to pass the Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL Central title.
Both teams have great starting pitching and after resting players in anticipation of the series, it will serve as a good challenge for the Dodgers to play on the road against a very good ball club.
Here are the keys to the series:
1. Chris Capuano:
Capuano gets the ball in the first game of the series and he must have a good outing because he’s winless in his last five starts. The Reds are good offensively as they rank 7th in on base percentage with a .328 mark. The Dodgers know what to expect from Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke in game two and three of the series, but if Capuano can give the Dodgers six or seven solid innings of work, they’ll have a great opportunity to steal game one.
The Dodgers are going to need to score against a very good pitching as the Reds rank 4th in the majors in ERA, so the Dodgers will need to take advantage of all their opportunities and not leave runners on-base. Meanwhile, the Dodgers rank 15th in runs scored and they will need the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Yasiel Puig to produce in a hitter friendly ballpark.
Puig is the latest Dodgers to miss a game due to injury and hopefully it will be the last. Matt Kemp was just shut down for the an indefinite period of time, so Puig, Crawford and Andre Ethier will need to stay healthy. Puig has a tendency of playing recklessly, but will need to be more careful in order to make sure he’s 100 percent for the playoffs.
The Dodgers will win two of three and the one game they lose will be close. In a series against a playoff contender, it’s another good test for the Dodgers to see where they rank among the best in the National League.
In case you missed it, be sure to find out more about the Michael Young trade!