Dodgers vs. Reds: Playoff preview in Cincinnati?

Marc Serota

The Dodgers are 21-9 this year against National League Central, a division that seems likely to send three teams to the postseason, including 10-4 on the road.

The Dodgers are in Cincinnati for a weekend series with the Reds that could possibly be a preview of things to come in October. At the very least the Great American Ball Park from Friday to Sunday will feature a pair of teams rooting against the Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers hold a 12-game lead over Arizona with 23 games to play, with a magic number of 12 to clinch the National League West.

The Reds are up by seven games on Arizona for the second NL wild card spot, but Cincinnati has other things to think about, too. For one, the Nationals are tied with the Diamondbacks in a long shot pursuit of a wild card spot. For another, the third-place Reds are just three games back of the Pirates in the National League Central, with a divisional crown still in their sights.

But for now the Dodgers and Reds are concentrated on each other, beginning with Chris Capuano against Mike Leake on Friday night.

Of the Reds' four best hitters Capuano hasn't faced Shin-Soo Choo, but the other three have had great success. Brandon Phillips has the most plate appearances (35) against Capuano among the Reds and is hitting .400 (14-for-35) with four doubles and a home run against him. Even left-handers Joey Votto (8-for-18 with two doubles and a home run, .444/.474/.722) and Jay Bruce (3-for-13 with two home runs and three walks, .231/.375/.692) have hit the southpaw.

On the flip side, Chris Heisey is 0-for-11 with four strikeouts against Capuano and Todd Frazier is 1-for-9 (.111) with a double and two walks. Capuano is also 2-2 with a 3.28 in 10 games, including eight starts, on the road this season with just three home runs allowed in 46⅔ innings.

Capuano allowed just three hits and no runs in 6⅔ innings against the Reds at Dodger Stadium on July 28, and in 2012 allowed one run in six innings in his one start against Cincinnati that season, too.

Leake is 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 12 starts in Cincinnati, with 13 home runs allowed in 75 innings, compared to 7-2, a 3.05 ERA and six home runs in 15 road starts.

Andre Ethier is 5-for-9 (.556) with two home runs against Leake, Skip Schumaker is 4-for-9 (.444) with a home run, a double and a walk, and Juan Uribe is 2-for-3 (.667) with a home run, a double and a walk against him. Nobody else has more than three plate appearances against Leake.

The Dodgers have won five of their last six series in Cincinnati and are 22-13 all-time at Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003.

Game info

Time: 4:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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