Friday, September 21, 2012

10 notes about the Dodgers series

The Reds (91-59) became the first team in Major League Baseball to clinch a playoff spot on Thursday when they completed a sweep over the Cubs. The win also trimmed their magic number to clinch the NL Central down to just two. And what better place and time to clinch it than at home at Great American Ball Park on the weekend?

One team who may have something to say about the situation is the Los Angeles Dodgers (77-73). They enter the series only three games back in the Wild Card despite having lost 10 of their previous 14 games. A couple of wins in the Queen City could be just what they need to propel them back toward the top.

With that said, here are 10 facts on the impending series against Matt Kemp and the Dodgers:

1) If you're one who goes by a schedule handed out prior to the season, pay special attention to the following.

- Friday's game will begin at the time originally scheduled (7:10 ET).
- Saturday and Sunday's start times however, have changed. Saturday's game has been moved up to 4:05 ET to accommodate the FOX national telecast while Sunday's contest has been pushed back to 8:06 ET to cater to ESPN Sunday Night Baseball's time slot.

2) Here are the pitching matchups:

Fri - CIN Bronson Arroyo (12-8, 3.74) vs LAD Joe Blanton (9-13, 4.97)
Sat - CIN Mat Latos (12-4, 3.76) vs LAD Stephen Fife (0-1, 2.49)
Sun - CIN Homer Bailey (12-9, 3.82) vs LAD TBA

3) The Dodgers lead the season series, 2-1. They took two of three versus the Redlegs in LA back in early-June.

4) With 1,152 hits as a Red, Brandon Phillips is just three hits shy of tying Joe Morgan for 18th place on the club's all-time hit list.

5) Arroyo is 5-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 14 career outings against Los Angeles. That includes a 4-0 mark in his last four starts against them.

6) Speaking of Arroyo, the right-hander has been on a tear recently. He's 8-2 with a 3.28 ERA in his last 11 starts. He also leads all National League pitchers in wins (91), starts (230), and innings pitched (1,469.1) since being acquired by the Reds in 2006.

7) The Reds (166) have clubbed 66 more homers than the Dodgers' team toal of 100 this year. The Dodgers rank second-to-last in the league while the Reds rank third.

8) No NL team has accumulated fewer extra base hits this season than LA's 371. Yes, even the lowly Houston Astros have mustered more (379).

9) The series will pit two of the three top pitching clubs in the NL. The Dodgers enter the series third in team ERA (3.44) while Cincy ranks second (3.42).

10) Cincinnati is 1,006-1,045 all-time versus the Dodgers (since 1900).

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