Dee Gordon back in starting lineup for road-strong Dodgers

John Grieshop

Gordon returns to the starting lineup after two games not starting, while the Reds welcome back their best hitter Joey Votto after a 23-game DL stint.

The Dodgers go for a third straight win on Tuesday night, looking to continue their road scoring against the Reds.

As a team the Dodgers are hitting .265/.343/.417 away from home, leading the National League in OPS, on-base percentage, batting average, hits (308) and walks (133) while second in slugging percentage, total bases (485) and triples (10). The Dodgers are averaging 4.79 runs per game on the road, tops in the NL.

It's a main reason why at 21-12 the Dodgers own the best road record in baseball.

The Dodgers have scored six or more runs three times in four games on this trip, admittedly in two of the most hitter-friendly parks around in Coors Field and Great American Ball Park. The Dodgers have scored six or more runs 15 times on the road this season, tied with Seattle and Baltimore for most games in the majors, and are 14-1 in those contests.

No other National League team has scored six runs more than 11 times on the road this season.

The offense will get Dee Gordon back after left hip discomfort kept him out of the starting lineup for two games. Gordon did single as a pinch hitter on Monday and is 6-for-11 over his last four games.

Andre Ethier is back in center field as well, missing the last two games with a combination of back tightness and a left-handed pitcher starting. Ethier is 5-for-12 with a pair of home runs against Cincinnati starter Mike Leake.

The Reds get an offensive boost as well, likely a much larger one, as first baseman Joey Votto was activated off the disabled list after missing 23 games with a distal quadriceps strain in his left knee. Donald Lutz was optioned to Triple-A Louisville in a corresponding move.

Votto lead the National League in walks in each of the last three seasons, including leading the majors with 135 free passes in 2013. This year, despite having played only 39 games he has 33 walks, more than any other Dodger has all year.

That's not a slight against the Dodgers, who are second in the NL in walks in 2014.

Votto is 3-for-3 with a double against Josh Beckett, making his first road start since throwing a no-hitter in Philadelphia on May 25. Old friend Skip Schumaker gets the start in left field for the Reds, and is 2-for-2 in his career against Beckett.

Also back for the Dodgers is first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who got a day off on Monday in the midst of slumps of 0-for-20 (no extra-base hits in seven games in June), 8-for-60 (.133/.221/.167 over his last 17 games) and 23-for-126 (.183/.268/.286 in his last 34 games).

Gonzalez told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register he felt "just a tick off" at the plate:

"He’s going out of the strike zone," Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire said. "He’s one of the smartest hitters I’ve been around and right now, he’s just going out of the strike zone too much.

"He’s gotta get back to swinging at strikes. I’d like to see him take more walks. We talk about it all the time. He knows. He just has to get back to being more patient. … Right now, he’s playing the pitcher’s game. He just needs to get back to his game."

Gonzalez is 0-for-3 with two ground outs and a fly out against Leake, with all three at-bats coming last season.

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