Ely looks to bounce back from two subpar outings when the Dodgers go for a three-game sweep of the struggling Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
After pounding Cincinnati pitching for a season high-tying 19 hits in a 12-0 victory Tuesday, Los Angeles had 11 hits in a 6-2 win Wednesday.
James Loney(notes) was 2 for 5 with a pair of RBIs, Manny Ramirez(notes) homered for the second straight game and Andre Ethier(notes) went 3 for 5 with his first home run since May 12 for the Dodgers (38-27), who moved a half-game ahead of San Diego for the NL West lead.
Ethier, batting a league-best .346, had not homered in his previous 14 games following a stint on the disabled list with a broken right pinky finger.
“Ethier finally got his home run,” manager Joe Torre said. “Hopefully he can maybe go on a little bit of a tear. That would be nice.”
Los Angeles has done just that at Great American Ball Park this season, batting .357 and averaging 9.2 runs in five games.
Ely (3-3, 3.38 ERA) may need that kind of run support Thursday, as the rookie yielded four runs in five innings during each of his last two starts. He posted a 1.80 ERA in the six prior starts.
“He’s just been a little off. When he’s going to be successful, his control has to be perfect,” Torre said after Ely walked a season high-tying three in a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. “He’s either on the edges (of the plate) or off the edges, because that’s what he’s all about. He can’t challenge people over the middle because he’s not overpowering.”
After not giving up a homer in the first 50 innings of his career, the right-hander has allowed three in his last two starts. He has never faced Cincinnati.
He will take on a Reds club that leads the NL with 5.0 runs per game and a .278 average, but has struck out 20 times in this series.
While the Reds are in a first-place tie with St. Louis in the NL Central, manager Dusty Baker could be feeling the pressure stemming from his club’s three-game skid. He was ejected for the first time this season Wednesday after Scott Rolen(notes) was thrown out for arguing a called third strike in the sixth inning.
The veteran right-hander has gone 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in his last three starts after winning four consecutive outings. Arroyo is 1-4 with a 4.67 ERA in nine starts against the Dodgers.
Loney is 8 for 17 against Arroyo, while Ethier has seven hits in 19 at-bats versus the right-hander. Both Dodgers sluggers have homered off him.
Ramirez is batting .485 with five homers and 17 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak against the Reds.
Los Angeles is 29-9 versus Cincinnati since the start of the 2005 season.