One day after a dramatic victory, the Los Angeles Dodgers will search for some sustained success by handing the ball to right-hander Kenta Maeda on Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.
After a six-game losing streak, the Dodgers have now won consecutive games following Joc Pederson's walk-off, two-run home run in the ninth inning Monday that gave Los Angeles a 4-3 victory over the Reds.
The Dodgers appear to have received some much-needed stability for their pitching staff with the return of Clayton Kershaw on Monday. Kershaw gave up two runs over seven strong innings, allowing a two-run home run to former Dodger Yasiel Puig in the first inning.
It was Kershaw's first start of the season after overcoming shoulder inflammation that surfaced during spring training.
As the Dodgers looked for their rotation to step up in the early going, Maeda (2-1, 4.76 ERA) has been a mixed bag. He gave up five runs over 5 1/3 innings during a loss Wednesday at St. Louis, one start after he gave up one run over five innings in a victory at Colorado.
The Cardinals chased Maeda in his most recent start with a three-run sixth inning that came just after the Dodgers had pulled to within a run.
"I think if you look back at Kenta the last few years, at times he's been victim to the big inning," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. "If there's some trouble but you get out of it. One run, two runs, that allows you to keep pitching deeper into a game -- keep your team in the game."
The Reds will turn to Southern California native Tyler Mahle (0-0, 0.82) on Tuesday. The right-hander has just one career appearance at Dodger Stadium -- May 10 of last year, when he did not give up an earned run over five innings and got the win.
In his first two starts this season, Mahle has surrendered just one earned run in 11 innings, and that came in a 2-1 Reds victory at home against Miami on Wednesday. Mahle was also the benefactor of some solid defense by shortstop Jose Iglesias in that one, as well.
"It's awesome when you've got a guy like that back there that can make just ridiculous plays," Mahle said, according to mlb.com. "It gives you a lot of confidence that if they put the ball in play, they're going to be there. And not just Jose, but everybody out there."
Of concern for the Reds is the early-season pitching of closer Raisel Iglesias, who gave up Pederson's game-ending shot Monday. Iglesias was 2-for-2 in save opportunities before blowing Monday's save chance. He has a 6.75 ERA after also taking the loss April 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers and April 6 at Pittsburgh, in addition to Monday's game.
The Dodgers hope that Kershaw's return ends up strengthening the Los Angeles bullpen. The three-time Cy Young Award winner replaced right-handed reliever Jamie Schultz on the roster Monday. It is possible that standout left-hander Julio Urias could now move from the rotation to the bullpen.
Heading into Tuesday's game the Dodgers will monitor the status of outfielder Cody Bellinger, who had to leave Monday's game when he was hit by a pitch on the side of the right knee in the third inning.
Bellinger entered Monday's game leading the National League in batting average (.424), runs (22), hits (28), home runs (nine) and RBI (22).
--Field Level Media
Dodgers host Reds, looking for 3rd straight W
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