Dodgers Reds Game One Preview

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After a series victory against a playoff contender, the Dodgers (64-50) open up a four-game set against the Reds (50-62).

Nothing like a little Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw to get the team back on track, as the Dodgers haven’t allowed a run since Monday. Mat Latos will make his third start with the Dodgers and face his former team in doing so.

Jul 22, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman walks off the field in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. The Cubs won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Latos did not have a good break up with the Reds, as he had some unkind words about the organization after being traded to Miami. Latos had a solid first start with the Dodgers, but got lit up by the Pirates last Saturday. This will be his first start against Cincinnati since they traded him in December 2014, and he’s only faced seven Reds players in his career. Skip Schumaker and Marlon Byrd are the only current Reds with double digit plate appearances against Latos, and they’re both hitting over .300 against him.

The Reds are 12 games under .500 and 22.5 games behind the Cardinals, but they still have some scary pieces on offense and the scariest piece in any bullpen. Joey Votto bounced back from a miserable, injury riddled 2014 season and is hitting .304 with 20 homers and a .434 OBP. Billy Hamilton has only 83 hits and 24 walks this season, but somehow still has a league-leading 52 stolen bases and is a treat to watch defensively.

That link shows the fastest pitches in baseball this year, of which the top 50 belong to Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman. You can use the Chapman filter to show the fastest pitches thrown by pitchers not named Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is about as dominant as it gets as a closer.

The Dodgers will face three rookie pitchers in this four-game series, starting Thursday night with Keyvius Sampson. This will be Sampson’s third career start, but he’s coming off a quality start for his first career win against Arizona. Obviously, he’s never faced any current Dodgers, but Paul Goldschmidt went 0-3 against him so he might be the Chosen One.

Jimmy Rollins is back in the leadoff spot after a night off. Carl Crawford got his first start of the season leading off and had three hits.

A.J. Ellis is behind the plate for Latos for the second consecutive game. Hopefully this battery fares better this time.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.

Next: Building a Bullpen for the Dodgers

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