In 2018, the Cincinnati Reds gave the Los Angeles Dodgers fits. Without question, the Reds just seemed to have the Dodgers number. First, they swept a four-game series at Chavez Ravine in May. I wrote this post and wondered if the season was about ready to roll the credits before it had a chance to get started. Then, the Reds took two of three in Cincinnati with the Dodgers in the heat of a pennant race.
On the ground in LA! ?? pic.twitter.com/HzRIaveIhI
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 15, 2019
However, this time around has different storylines and implications. Monday will be Kershaw Day in Los Angeles once more – and the former favorite son of the City of Angels makes his return to Dodger Stadium in Yasiel Puig.
The Dodgers’ schedule has featured some great teams already, and this three-game set might be the most interesting yet.
Monday – Luis Castillo vs. Clayton Kershaw
Tuesday – Tyler Mahle vs. Kenta Maeda
Wednesday – Sonny Gray vs. Walker Buehler
For the first time all season, the Dodgers gain the opportunity to run Kershaw and Walker Buehler out within the same series. At one point, this pair was thought to be 1a and 1b to open the season with.
While the Dodgers get the preferable luxury of facing three right-handed starters, they open with a tough customer. Luis Castillo has a 0.92 ERA in three starts for the Reds, and he opposes Kershaw on Monday evening. Of course, this is the first glimpse we get of Kershaw with the big league club. The Dodgers starting rotation needs stabilized at the current time. There’s no better candidate to restore the homeostasis.
Meanwhile, Buehler’s next start is important. Through his first three starts of 2019, he has an 8.25 ERA and has allowed 13 hits in 12 innings pitched.
Viva La Puig
So much has been made of Yasiel Puig’s return to Los Angeles, and it’s easy to understand why. Puig arrived in Cincinnati with some controversial comments about his past home. Now, just because he’s wearing red; it’s not necessarily all roses. Thus far, Puig is hitting .163 with one home run, and six RBI in the young season.
Dodgers fans might feel bittersweet about Puig’s homecoming, but they certainly don’t want to see him heat up at the Dodgers’ expense. Indeed, the Dodgers should have the playbook on how to get this middle of the order hitter out.
Staying Above .500
The Dodgers fired out of the starting gates with an 8-2 start. Then, they lost the next six. On Sunday, Ross Stripling gave Los Angeles an incredible start to salvage the series against the Milwaukee Brewers. While the season record sits at 9-8 and has taken some hits – the Dodgers should be looking to take another series and remain above .500 while getting their rotation healthy.
[button link=”http://dodgersnation.com/cody-bellinger-bombs-chronicling-dodgers-home-run-72/2019/04/14/” type=”big” color=”silver”] Cody Bellinger Bomb 72[/button]