The Los Angeles Dodgers are unbeaten since hiring a new hitting coach. Yet, manager Jim Tracy says it’s premature to credit George Hendrick with the team’s recent success.
“We scored (19) runs over the past (four) games and (former hitting coach Jack Clark) was in the dugout for two of them,” Tracy said. “Over a 50-game period, there possibly could be another way to look at it.”
The Dodgers will look to extend their win streak to four games and complete a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds when the teams meet at Chavez Ravine.
Los Angeles hasn’t won four consecutive games since winning eight straight from June 10-18. Thanks to a lackluster offense, the Dodgers hadn’t won more than two in a row since that run, prompting the firing of Clark.
Although the Dodgers have won both games under Hendrick, who was hired on Tuesday, they scored just a combined seven runs.
“I don’t expect a miracle or George to be the savior,” said Tracy, whose own job may be in jeopardy. “Is this guy going to make a huge difference? I don’t know the answer. But I do know if nothing had been done, we wouldn’t know anything.”
The Dodgers had seven hits in Tuesday’s 5-2 win and eight in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Reds.
It was Burnitz’s first homer in 10 games and fourth since joining the Dodgers in a July 14 trade with the New York Mets. He is hitting .200 (14-for-70) with nine RBIs in 19 games since the trade.
Sean Casey drove in the lone run for the Reds, who mustered just four hits.
Cincinnati has lost two straight after winning four in a row and seven of eight.
STANDINGS: Reds - 5th place, 10 GB, NL Central. Dodgers - 3rd place, 12 1/2 GB, NL West.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Paul Wilson (6-8, 5.22 ERA). Wilson, who is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA over his last three starts, is coming off one of his best outings of the season. The right-hander didn’t figure in the decision in Cincinnati’s 5-3 win over San Francisco on Friday, despite allowing two runs and seven hits over seven innings. Wilson is 0-2 with 4.34 ERA in three career starts against Los Angeles.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Hideo Nomo (12-9, 2.67 ERA). The Japanese right-hander, who allowed just one earned run during his three-start win streak, allowed one run and four hits in two innings on Friday against Atlanta, but left after a lengthy rain delay. The Braves went on to a 2-0 win. In 10 career starts against Cincinnati, Nomo is 5-4 with a 4.45 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Reds - Casey, .294 avg. and 60 RBIs; Adam Dunn, 26 HRs and 67 runs; Dunn and Felipe Lopez, 8 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .294 avg.; Burnitz, 22 HRs; Shawn Green, 54 RBIs and 56 runs; Dave Roberts, 27 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Reds - The Reds have made roster moves 11 of the last 12 days. … The Reds have recorded 34 of their wins by two runs or fewer, including 23 by one run. … RHP Jose Acevedo sprained his left ankle while tumbling down the dugout steps after striking out OF Burnitz to end the third inning. He was placed on the 15-day DL and sent back to Cincinnati for an MRI after X-rays were inconclusive. Dodgers - The Dodgers own a major league-low 3.07 ERA. … RHP Eric Gagne got three outs Wednesday for his 45th consecutive save and 37th this season, which ties him with former Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley for the second-longest streak to start a season. … OF Green, mired in a season-long slump, was 1-for-3 Wednesday and is hitting .298 (37-for-124) over his last 32 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Reds - 24-31 on the road; Dodgers - 31-25 at home.
INJURIES: Reds - RHP Acevedo (ankle), 15-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Dempster (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Sullivan (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; 1B Fred McGriff (abductor), 15-day DL; OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.