CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Dodgers have placed a National-League leading 26 players on the disabled list this season. Slowly but surely, they are getting healthy.
Good news abounded on Friday. Right-handed starter Bud Norris and left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore were reinstated from the DL and ace Clayton Kershaw will take a significant step forward in his rehab from a herniated disk on Saturday when he throws 20-25 pitches off the mound inside Great American Ball Park.
“I'm always cautiously optimistic,” manager Dave Roberts said on Friday. “With all the things we've incurred, we still find a way.”
The news wasn't as good on the field Friday as Norris allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in his return in a 9-2 loss to Cincinnati.
The Dodgers had won nine straight against the Reds. They'll be looking to start another streak when Brett Anderson takes the mound Saturday hoping to improve on his season debut on Sunday when he allowed five runs and five hits in one inning of an 11-3 loss to the Pirates.
Anderson will make his third career start against Cincinnati. In his two prior starts against the Reds, Anderson went 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA with just three earned runs given up in 12 2/3 innings. Cincinnati batted .224 against him in those outings.
The Reds will counter with left-hander Brandon Finnegan who will make his 25th appearance and start of the season on Saturday. He'll face the Dodgers for the second time in his career.
Finnegan's last start at Dodger Stadium was a memorable one.
On May 23, Finnegan allowed one run and five hits through eight innings of a 1-0 loss. It was the first complete game by a Reds left-hander since Lance Davis beat the Tigers on July 16, 2001, at Cinergy Field.
Finnegan, who was acquired last July in the trade which sent Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals, has endured some hard luck this season.
He was matched up against Kershaw in the aforementioned start in May. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on April 11 only to have it broken up with two outs then eventually lost the game. Finnegan also was the Reds' starter on April 21 when Jake Arrieta no-hit them at Great American Ball Park.
Fortunes for Cincinnati have turned around. Since the All-Star break, the Reds are 20-12 and have won eight of 10 series. They own the second-best record in the major leagues since the break.
“I understand that it was a tough first half and now it's exciting to come to the ballpark knowing you have a chance to win,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “Nobody wants to be at the bottom (off the standings). The overriding feeling in the first half, besides getting the pitching together, was we're just a couple of pieces short. This is the way we envisioned the second half going.”