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Streaking Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers face tough test in Johnny Cueto

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The best pitching matchup of the series comes Wednesday night in Cincinnati.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Four times the Dodgers have won three consecutive games in 2014. In each of the previous three occurrences, the team has lost the attempt at a fourth straight win. Hyun-jin Ryu takes the mound trying to stop that streak, and keep up one of his own on Wednesday night against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Ryu has won each of his last four starts since returning from the disabled list, with 22 strikeouts and three walks during that span. He won five consecutive starts once in his rookie campaign of 2013, from July 22 to August 13, the end of a nine-start stretch that saw him go 6-0 with a 2.84 ERA while the Dodgers won all nine games.

On the road this season, Ryu has been ridiculous. He has taken the mound for 38 innings away from home in 2014, and in 36 of those innings he kept the other team from scoring. He has a 0.95 ERA in six road starts this year, with 34 strikeouts and nine walks in 38 innings.

Dating back to 2013, Ryu has allowed five runs in his last 52 road innings, with 44 strikeouts and 10 walks during that span.

Ryu allowed one run on two hits while striking out nine Reds in his one start against them in 2013, and he took a perfect game into the eighth inning in his one start against them this year, on May 26. But both of those were at Dodger Stadium. This is Ryu's first start at Great American Ball Park, where his counterpart his shined brightly.

Johnny Cueto has a 1.87 ERA in seven starts in Cincinnati this season, with 57 strikeouts and 10 walks in 53 innings. Though he is just 3-3 and the Reds are 4-3 in those home starts thanks to 21 total runs of support, just three per game.

Cueto was on the losing end of Ryu's flirtation with perfection on May 26, a game that was 1-0 into the seventh inning when the Dodgers rallied for three runs. Cueto lasted 6⅓ innings in that game, which amazingly is his third-shortest start of the season.

Cueto leads baseball averaging 7.38 innings per start, including 10 of his 13 starts lasting at least seven innings. But his shorter starts — a five-inning outing, another at 5⅓, his 6⅓ in LA — have come in his last four starts.

In seven career starts against the Dodgers, Cueto has a 3.19 ERA and has allowed more than two earned runs only twice. But he is 1-5 and the Reds have lost six of the seven games, with the only win coming June 14, 2011 in Los Angeles.

Matt Kemp is 6-for-12 (.500) with two home runs and two walks in his career against Cueto. Kemp is 6-for-16 (.375) with two triples and a double on the road trip. He was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on Tuesday night but also walked for a fifth straight game, one shy of the longest streak of his career.

Kemp walked in six straight games twice, once in July 2009 and once earlier this season, in April.

Weather permitting

The Dodgers and Reds waited out a rain delay of two hours and five minutes before Tuesday's game, and Wednesday might bring more delays. Weather.com shows a chance of rain between 30-60 percent in and around game time in Cincinnati. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register gives a firsthand view: