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Dodgers to ride Clayton Kershaw in opener with Reds

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers try to build on the momentum of Sunday's marathon win in San Diego, trying to fatten up at home on one of the worst teams in baseball with the Reds in town for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Cincinnati comes to Los Angeles on a seven-game losing streak, with just one win in their last 11 games.

The Dodgers last week at 2-5 had the third-worst record in baseball, but were outscored by just five runs (38-33). The Reds had the worst record at 0-7, with four losses to the Indians and three to the Mariners, and were outscored 60-23 in the process.

At 3-14 (.176), the Reds have the worst road record in the National League. Only the Twins have been worse in the American League, at 4-19 (.174). Away from home, Cincinnati has allowed almost twice as many runs (115) as they have scored (58).

The scales are tipped even further in the Dodgers' favor on Monday night, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. He comes into Monday's game with 54 strikeouts and one walk at Dodger Stadium this season, and the Dodgers are 8-1 in his nine starts.

The Reds offense has the lowest walk rate in the National League at 6.6 percent, and the third-highest strikeout rate (22.5 percent).

The Dodgers need Kershaw to go deep in Monday's game, and so far this season that is exactly what he has done. He has lasted seven or more innings in all nine of his starts, the second-longest streak of his career (he had a 17-game stretch in 2004), and leads the majors with 70 innings pitched, averaging 7.78 per start.

In the last two games in San Diego, the Dodgers got 13 innings out of seven members of their bullpen, not including Chin-hui Tsao, who pitched and lost on Saturday night but also reported soreness and was unavailable on Sunday. The Dodgers, who currently have 13 pitchers on the active roster, might have as few as three relief pitchers available for use on Monday, barring any pregame transactions.

Brandon Finnegan starts for the Reds, so expect several right-handed hitters in Monday's lineup for the Dodgers. The Dodgers are 5-6 in games started by opposing left-handers this season, and against all lefties are hitting .234/.305/.397.

The Reds are 5-5 against southpaw starters this season, and as a team are hitting .263/.332/.420 against left-handed pitching.

After Sunday's 17-inning game in San Diego and subsequent later bus trip back to Los Angeles, the Dodgers won't take batting practice on the field before Monday's game.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA