The Cincinnati Reds have their first six-game winning streak of the season after their offense broke out during a three-game sweep to begin a lengthy road trip.
They’ll need every bit of momentum they can muster heading into Los Angeles.
The NL Central leaders have lost 12 consecutive road games against the Dodgers, but they’ll hope for better luck in Friday’s series opener as Homer Bailey(notes) tries to build upon an impressive return to the rotation.
Cincinnati (70-51) swept Florida prior to departing on its nine-game road trip and didn’t let up against NL West-worst Arizona. The Reds hit .348 and totaled 26 runs at Chase Field, finishing a three-game sweep with a 9-5 win Thursday that increased their division lead to 3 1/2 games over St. Louis.
Dusty Baker’s club last won seven straight Aug. 31-Sept. 6, but reaching that mark Friday won’t be easy. Cincinnati has not won at Chavez Ravine since 2006, getting outscored 78-39 in that span.
Then again, the Reds have a good chance to snap their skid if Bailey (2-2, 4.92 ERA) pitches as well as he did Sunday against Florida. Making his first start in nearly three months, the former first-round pick held the Marlins to three hits in six innings without a walk in a 2-0 victory.
“He gave us all he had. He threw the ball great today,” Baker told the Reds’ official website. “The first time back, that’s a great sign for us to have fresh arms like Homer and (Edinson) Volquez down the stretch. When everybody else is a little worn, they’re just getting revved up.”
Bailey is 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers (62-60), one of which extended Cincinnati’s slide in Los Angeles. The right-hander gave up nine runs - six earned - over 2 2-3 innings in a 12-3 loss July 21, 2009.
Kemp extended his slump to 0 for 13 by going hitless in four at-bats Thursday against Colorado, but all the Dodgers needed was one swing from Reed Johnson(notes). The outfielder’s second-inning, two-run homer backed a brilliant two-hitter by Ted Lilly(notes) in a 2-0 win.
“Tonight we needed a lift, and (Lilly) just took it on his shoulders and went for it,” manager Joe Torre said.
That means Carlos Monasterios(notes) (3-3, 3.72) will come out of the bullpen to make his first start since July 30. The righty is 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA in eight starts, and has only made three relief appearances this month.
Hernandez has batted .464 (13 for 28) with two homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games after hitting a three-run shot Thursday.