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Mighty Dodger Offense Rolls Into the Great American Bandbox

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Opposing NL pitchers have tried to bring Matt Kemp and the Dodger offense to their knees, but mostly have not succeeded in their 2010 attempts.  Will Homer Bailey be the next victim of the Dodger bats?  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Opposing NL pitchers have tried to bring Matt Kemp and the Dodger offense to their knees, but mostly have not succeeded in their 2010 attempts. Will Homer Bailey be the next victim of the Dodger bats? (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Dodgers offense has provided scoring to the tune of 5.8 runs per game this season so far, despite being held to two runs combined in the last two games of the just concluded homestand.  The Dodgers lead the league in batting average (.303) this season, are second to the Phillies in OBP (.374), slugging pct. (.468), OPS (.842) and runs scored per game.  The hitter's paradise of Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark would seem like a perfect location to keep the offense's gravy train rolling.

The Dodgers are 15-8 in Cincinnati since their new ballpark opened in 2003.  Only twice in those seven years have the Dodger lost the series in Ohio, winning only one game in 2003 and 2007.  Over the past two years, LA has won six out of eight games here, scoring 42 runs (5.25 per game), hitting 10 HRs and 31 XBHs, and posting an OPS in the .840s.

Chad Billingsley starts today for the Dodgers.  After his stumbling finish to 2009, many eyes were looking to see signs of return to form, but the results after two starts have been mixed.  Billingsley has exceeded 100 pitches in each of his starts, but managed to last only 5 1/3 and 5 2/3 innings in each, posting one win (allowing one run) and one no-decision (allowing six runs).  Dodger fans (and presumably the team) would love to see Chad right his ship here in the NL stadium closest to his hometown of Defiance, Ohio.  Cincinnati has given Billingsley mixed results: in three starts, Chad has a 1-2 record, with a 3.31 ERA, 13 K, but 11 BB in 16 1/3 IP.

Last season, Billingsley also opened the Cincinnati series, but allowed all four runs in five innings, while Homer Bailey - also starting tonight - flashed his potential, throwing eight innings of shut out ball against the Dodgers.  The Reds held on to win 4-2.

Other Notes

  • This week's series is the first of two visits to Cincinnati, only the second time the Dodgers have done so since Great American Ballpark opened.  Two trips were made in 2008 as well.  The Dodgers return here in mid-June for three games
  • Since 2006, the Dodgers winning percentage over Cincinnati is .846 (22-4), which is the best for one team over another in that time frame in the majors (minimum 10 games).
  • Matt Kemp currently has a eight game hitting streak, hitting .353 / .410 / .824 / 1.234 in that span.
  • President Barack Obama met former Dodger great and current Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe yesterday.  At the California Science Center, Obama said:
    "He was very gracious in saying `Jackie would be proud,''' Obama said. "I said, well, ‘I would not be here if it were not for Jackie and it were not for Don Newcombe.''
  • Injured Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez was suspended by major league baseball for fifty games for PED usage.  Per the Joint Drug Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, Volquez serves his suspension immediately while on the 60-day disabled list, losing his pay, but no additional playing time.
  • No batter has accumulated all that many plate appearances against either starting pitcher but the players at the extremes are:
    Player PA 2B 3B HR BB K BA OBP Slg OPS
    Joey Votto 12 2 0 0 1 2 .455 .500 .636 1.136
    Brandon Phillips 15 0 0 0 1 5 .143 .200 .143 .343
    Matt Kemp 6 0 0 1 1 1 .600 .667 1.200 1.867
    Casey Blake 9 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
  • Happy 49th birthday Don Mattingly!

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Game Time: 4:10pm

TV: KCAL

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