Dodgers try to avoid getting swept by Reds

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers will try to make a move toward better health, literally and figuratively, when Rich Hill takes the mound Sunday in the finale of a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Hill (1-1, 7.11 ERA) will be making his second start since returning from the 10-day disabled list because of a cracked fingernail on his left hand as well as an infection that developed. The left-hander will match up against Reds starter Luis Castillo (2-4, 6.47), who faces Los Angeles for the first time.

Hill is 4-2 with a 3.80 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) versus Cincinnati.

The Dodgers will look for much needed improvement from Hill, especially against a Reds club that has won five consecutive games. The left-hander gave up five runs on seven hits over four innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks upon his return from the DL on Tuesday.

The outing was essentially more of the same for the Dodgers (16-23). They have won a series only twice this season: April 16-18 versus the San Diego Padres and April 20-22 against the Washington Nationals.

“The worm’s got to turn at some point,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I believe it will. Sooner would certainly be better.”

News that third baseman Justin Turner and second baseman Logan Forsythe will return soon gives the Dodgers reason for optimism. But Castillo won’t have to face either of them Sunday.

The right-hander is coming off his second victory of the season, when he retired the first 14 Mets batters he faced. It was shades of his April 16 start at Milwaukee when he took a two-hitter into the seventh. That game was the only other one he has won this season.

Tuesday’s victory started the Reds on their five-game win streak, the first time they had won more than two consecutive games all season. And yet the Reds still have the worst record in the National League at 13-27.

Part of what manager Jim Riggleman thinks has inspired the club of late was the trade for Matt Harvey on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a nice spark for the club,” Riggleman said before Saturday’s game in L.A. “The record (being) what it is, nobody’s happy about that. But you (acquire) somebody it does show that we’re trying, we’re not cashing it in. The front office, the players, everybody is trying to get it better.”

Scooter Gennett had a home run in each contest of the first four games of the win streak, and while he had three hits Saturday, he missed a chance to tie a franchise record with his fifth consecutive game with a homer.

The offense scored 4.8 runs a game during the win streak, but pitching has been key for the Reds of late. The Reds’ starting pitchers have a 2.10 ERA during the win streak, including four scoreless innings from Harvey on Friday. The bullpen has a 0.89 ERA over 20 1/3 frames.

The late-April returns of Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez from the disabled list have boosted the offense. Before play Saturday, the Reds were third in the NL in runs scored since April 23 with 97.