Penny (shoulder) was put on the disabled list Tuesday and Hiroki Kuroda (shoulder) could miss his next start, leaving Los Angeles (33-38) trying to shore up its staff.
The Dodgers called up Stults (1-4, 5.82 ERA in 2007) from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday to take Penny’s spot in the rotation. The left-hander was 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 14 starts for Las Vegas. He had three stints with the Dodgers last season.
“The fact that he has some big league experience means he won’t be a duck out of water,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.
This will be Stults’ first appearance against Cincinnati, and it’s perhaps a good opportunity for him to ease back into major league competition. The Reds (33-40) went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in a 6-1 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Cincinnati has lost four straight and 11 of 16, a slump largely due to its struggling lineup. The Reds are 2-6 on a homestand that ends Thursday, batting .179 and scoring a total of 17 runs.
Los Angeles has also dominated its season series with Cincinnati, winning five straight and six of seven. The Dodgers have held the Reds to two runs or less in each of the last four meetings.
“I don’t know what it is about the Dodgers,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. “They beat us pretty good.”
Los Angeles will be looking to win three straight for the first time since sweeping Cincinnati from May 19-21.
The Dodgers have been facing a Reds lineup that has been without Ken Griffey Jr. (illness) the past two games. His status for Thursday is uncertain.
Prized Cincinnati rookie Jay Bruce took Griffey’s spot in right field Wednesday, and made two outstanding defensive plays. He also singled in the sixth inning to end an 0-for-16 streak.
Bruce has just one home run in 15 games after hitting three in his first seven contests.
Baker, trying to spark his lineup Wednesday, put first baseman Joey Votto in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career and he went 1-for-4.
It’s uncertain if Baker will keep Votto in that spot as the Reds try to give Aaron Harang (3-9, 4.10) some run support. Harang snapped a personal three-game losing streak in his last start, allowing one run and four hits while striking out seven in seven innings of a 3-1 win over Boston on Friday night.
The right-hander, who posted a 9.39 ERA in his previous three outings, hadn’t won since May 12.
Harang is 2-3 with a 4.13 ERA in five starts versus the Dodgers.