The Cincinnati Reds are running out of healthy bodies and chances in their bid for the second wild-card spot in the National League as they host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon.
One day after his return from the 10-day injured list for an intercostal strain, All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker landed back on the injured list Saturday with the same injury. He was hit by a pitch in the arm and ribs in the eighth inning Friday night by the hard-throwing Brusdar Graterol.
“After the first pitch, I heard a few of the coaches say, ‘Did you see that, did you see that?’ I got up and I didn’t see it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Otherwise, I would have probably ran out there. I went up to the steps and was yelling at Wink at the top. He didn’t turn around, so I said, ‘I guess he’s OK.’ Then the next pitch hit him.”
Shogo Akiyama was also placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain on Saturday. The Winker and Akiyama moves follow Tyler Naquin’s transfer to the injured list on Friday with bruised ribs.
The loss of the three outfielders couldn’t come at a worse time as the Cincinnati offense has struggled badly and faces Clayton Kershaw in hopes of snapping a streak of seven series losses. The Reds haven’t won a series since sweeping four games from the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park Aug. 19-22.
The Reds (77-72) are just 8-15 in their last 23 games as they chase the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot in the National League. The Dodgers (95-54) have won seven of eight as they continue to chase the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, searching for their ninth straight division crown.
Kershaw (9-7, 3.33 ERA) will be taking the mound in Cincinnati for the first time in eight years and for the second time since a two-month stint on the injured list with left forearm inflammation. In his previous start against the Reds this year, the lefty tossed seven scoreless innings on April 28 at Dodger Stadium in an 8-0 Dodgers win.
Kershaw is 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 career starts against the Reds. In his first start since July 3, Kershaw threw 50 pitches over 4 1/3 innings on Monday against Arizona, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out five and walking one.
Cincinnati will counter with one of its most consistent pitchers in 2021 as Wade Miley (12-6, 3.09) makes his 28th start of the season.
Miley is making his first start against the Dodgers since July 31, 2018, when he was with Milwaukee. This will be his 15th career start against Los Angeles, dating to his first appearance on Sept. 28, 2011, with Arizona. He is 4-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 15 previous outings – 14 starts — against the Dodgers.
In their chase of the Giants, the Dodgers have also had their share of injuries, including Cody Bellinger, who suffered a non-displaced rib fracture after colliding with Gavin Lux on Monday.
“Cody was going to be in there,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Bellinger’s availability Saturday. “(The fracture) is pretty benign, but there’s still some pain there. Just give Cody a day and he’ll be back in there (Sunday).
“It’s the left side, so more when he’s throwing in the outfield. Right now, it’s just sore. I’m sure there might be something with the swinging, too. He’s confident he’ll be in there (Sunday), and it shouldn’t affect him moving forward.”
Lux returned to the starting lineup Saturday after missing Friday with a bruised forearm when he was hit by a pitching from a pitching machine before the game.
–Field Level Media