Andre Ethier is on a tear, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are surging.
Ethier looks for another impressive offensive display as the Dodgers go for a sixth straight home win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Ethier is hitting .359 with nine RBIs in his last 12 games, with half of his 14 hits in that stretch going for extra bases. Each of his three hits in this series fit that criteria, as he had a homer and a double while driving in a season-high four runs in Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Reds (22-28).
That should be enough to keep him in the lineup, especially with Carl Crawford likely headed to the disabled list with a sprained left ankle suffered while chasing down a double in the left field corner Tuesday.
The Dodgers (29-24) have held Matt Kemp out of the lineup for five games while he learns to play left. The team questioned his ability to remain in center after offseason ankle surgery.
Manager Don Mattingly has shuffled the outfield, using Ethier, Crawford, Kemp, Scott Van Slyke and Yasiel Puig, the last of which has reached base in 28 straight games.
"It’s uncomfortable, and it’s a tough spot to be in," Ethier said. "I guess this is a situation where too much of a good thing is not necessarily good. But you’ve got to commend everyone for being professional and handling it as well as they can."
Los Angeles has won six of eight overall and is 7-1 in its last eight home meetings with Cincinnati.
Clayton Kershaw (3-1, 3.49 ERA) has a 2.78 ERA in eight career starts against the Reds, but just a 2-1 record as he’s been backed by an average of 2.8 runs. He allowed one run in eight innings of a 2-1 win in his most recent home start against Cincinnati on July 26.
This time, the left-hander is facing a Reds team that is hitting .224 during a season-high four-game losing streak. Cincinnati has totaled 13 hits with 24 strikeouts in this series.
Kershaw is coming off Friday’s 2-0 victory at Philadelphia, striking out nine while allowing two hits in six innings after returning from a 43-minute rain delay in the fourth. It marked a return to form for the ace following his shortest outing of the season May 17, when he was pulled with two outs in the second after allowing seven runs in an 18-7 defeat at Arizona.
The Reds’ four-game slide includes losses to Hyun-jin Ryu and Zack Greinke in this series, and they lost 4-0 to St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright on Sunday.
"You have to figure something out," third baseman Todd Frazier told the team’s official website. "Be that athlete that you know you can be and how you used to play when we’re little. I used to scream and yell and get excited. Bring that emotion."
Frazier has gone 3 for 17 with seven strikeouts in the last four games. He’s 1 for 9 versus Kershaw.
Homer Bailey (4-3, 5.34) will look to carry his home success to the road. The right-hander has won his past three starts at Great American Ball Park with a 2.95 ERA, but he’s gone 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in his last three away games.
He was solid at home Friday, yielding three runs in six innings of a 5-3 victory over St. Louis.
Bailey has posted a 2.05 ERA while winning two of his last three outings at Dodger Stadium and was the hard-luck loser opposite Kershaw on July 26. He allowed two runs in seven innings.
Bailey has held Ethier hitless with six strikeouts in 18 at-bats.