The Cincinnati Reds finally cooled off a little bit on Friday night.
Bronson Arroyo looks to cap off a wildly successful July by getting the Reds back on track Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arroyo (9-7, 3.19 ERA) has gone 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA this month, and opposing batters are hitting just .172 off the right-hander in four July starts. That included a dazzling effort to open up the Reds’ 11-game West Coast trip, as he tossed a seven-hitter Monday in an 11-0 rout of the San Francisco Giants.
His sixth career shutout improved his mark to 6-0 with a 1.32 ERA in nine starts this year when pitching after a Reds loss, yielding only 10 runs in 68 1-3 innings, and they have won all nine games.
“I try not to pitch any different, but to be honest, sometimes there’s an urgency to the mood in the clubhouse,” Arroyo said. “This game is very difficult and nobody can go out there and just say, ‘I’m going to win the ballgame today.’ So, it’s partly probably luck and a bit of trying to just really want to not let your team slide downhill again.”
Arroyo was typically precise against the Giants, avoiding any walks, and is seventh in the majors with 1.56 free passes per nine innings.
He also has recently fared quite well against the Dodgers. After some early struggles in his career, he is 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last six starts against them.
While the Dodgers (54-48) have won 10 straight away from home and a major league-best 24 of 30 overall, they have split their last six at home and scored just six runs over their last five games at Dodger Stadium.
Hanley Ramirez accounted for Los Angeles’ offense in Friday’s 2-1 win with a sixth-inning home run and is batting .389 (14 for 36) with three homers and three doubles while hitting safely in all eight games since the All-Star break. He’s also reached safely in 34 straight contests.
“He’s been swinging a hot bat,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. “When he’s going like this, we kind of all jump on his back.”
They’ll also look to ride Hyun-Jin Ryu (8-3, 3.25), who is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his last eight starts at Dodger Stadium following a slightly shaky major league debut.
The Dodgers have won Ryu’s last five starts, and his next victory will tie him with Jae Seo for the most wins by a South Korean pitcher in his rookie season. Ryu leads all rookies with 122 innings pitched, and his eight wins trail only St. Louis’ Shelby Miller, who has 10.
After allowing three runs or fewer in 10 straight starts, during which he had a 2.25 ERA, he has allowed four or more in his last two. He labored to a win at Toronto on Monday, giving up four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings as the Dodgers won 14-5.
The Reds (59-45) had averaged 7.2 runs through their first five games on this trip and reached double figures in hits in each contest before Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen held them to four doubles and two singles.
“They’ve got a great team over there, great lineup,” Kershaw said. “The key is to get these middle guys and not to give them any opportunities.”
Reds right fielder Jay Bruce extended his hitting streak to six games with a seventh-inning single but has as many hits (9) as strikeouts over 23 at-bats in that span.