Reds Rolling

The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't been to able to catch a break at the plate recently. The result is one of the worst offensive slumps in team history.

The Dodgers try to avoid a fourth straight shutout when they conclude a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

Los Angeles (58-55) has lost a season-high six consecutive games, failing to score a run in four of those defeats. The Dodgers were held to four hits in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Cincinnati (49-64), which was their third consecutive shutout.

They hadn't been blanked in three straight games since 1966 when they were shut out in three in a row from April 23-25, and again in the last three games of the World Series while they were getting swept by Baltimore. The Dodgers haven't been shut out in four consecutive games since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -114 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -114 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

"It's tough," said starter Chad Billingsley, who lost despite giving up only one run Wednesday. "Our third shutout in a row. It's a tough stretch we're going through right here. Bad luck's coming toward us right now."

The Dodgers had the misfortune of running into Aaron Harang, who struck out eight over eight dominant innings Wednesday. The Reds also came up with some big defensive plays, including two by Ken Griffey Jr., to extend Los Angeles' scoring drought to 28 innings.

"One big hit. That's all we need," said right fielder Matt Kemp, who thought he had broken the skid with an RBI single in the eighth inning, only to get robbed by second baseman Brandon Phillips. "When you're going bad, you do something good and the other team does something to bring you back down."

The Dodgers have lost 15 of their last 20 games to fall from first to fourth place in the NL West, the lowest they've stood in the division since April 5. Los Angeles had won nine in a row versus the Reds entering this series, but are now trying to avoid getting swept by them for the first time since May 14-16, 2004.

Cincinnati is looking to win a season-high fifth straight game. The Reds are outscoring opponents 27-12 and batting .331 during the four-game run while the starting rotation has posted a 1.73 ERA.

Griffey drove in the only run Wednesday and is batting .394 (13-for-33) during an eight-game hitting streak versus the Dodgers. He is 7-for-14 with a homer, triple and two doubles during his career versus Brett Tomko (2-9, 5.56 ERA) , who will take the mound for Los Angeles on Thursday.

Tomko moved from the bullpen back into the starting rotation on July 15 and allowed just one earned run through 11 innings in his first two starts. The right-hander has given up eight runs over 11 innings in his last two outings, though, losing both.

He allowed three runs - all in the first inning - and five hits over five innings in a 4-2 defeat to San Francisco last Thursday, drawing boos from the home crowd.

Tomko played his first three seasons with the Reds from 1997-1999, going 29-26 with a 4.35 ERA. He is 2-3 with a 6.22 ERA in 12 career games, including nine starts, against his former team, but has yet to face the Reds this season.

Phil Dumatrait (0-1, 16.20) will make his second major league start for Cincinnati. The left-hander was called up from Triple-A Louisville last Thursday and struggled in his debut, allowing six runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings in a 7-3 defeat to Washington.

He walked three and struck out three, throwing 82 pitches.

"He didn't have good command," Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "It was his debut, and I am sure he was nervous."

Dumatrait, who went 10-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 21 minor league starts, will be making his first home start for Cincinnati.

The Reds learned they will be without center fielder Ryan Freel for the rest of the season after he underwent knee surgery Wednesday.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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