At 16-22, Los Angeles is six games under .500 for the first time since June 21, 2013. Yes, that was the game before the Dodgers would go on a 42-8 run to begin their streak of five straight division titles. But that’s more of an historic anomaly than something to depend on.
Especially with how the 2018 team is playing.
Matt Harvey, one of the worst pitchers in baseball since the start of 2017, was bad in New York this season, so much so that when the Mets banished him to the bullpen that manager Mickey Callaway said, “I think you look at his stuff and it’s just down.”
Not so much on Friday night, when Harvey had good enough stuff to cut through the Dodgers like a hot knife through butter in his four scoreless innings. He allowed only one batter to reach base, and that was only because Cody Bellinger‘s easy fly ball to right field inexplicably dropped when Scott Schebler lost it in the lights.
The Dodgers’ struggle this year is two-faced: While their offense couldn’t make a dent in Harvey, their pitching was substandard.
Kenta Maeda allowed runs in three of the five innings he started, and gave up a season-high nine hits. Three Reds doubled off him, and Scooter Gennett homered for the second straight night, one of four hits on the night for Gennett.
Maeda left with two outs in the fifth with five runs against his ledger, boosting his ERA to 4.75. Opposing batters are hitting .288/.344/.473 against him in 2018.
Chris Taylor, who with a .299 on-base percentage entering Friday was dropped to sixth in the batting order after leading off in his last 83 starts, hit a more conventional triple in the fifth inning, after Harvey was out of the game.
Taylor scored the Dodgers’ first run, driven in by a Max Muncy double. Muncy also homered in the seventh.
The Dodgers this season have lost a series to the Marlins, the last place team in the National League East, and lost a series to the Padres, the last place team in the NL West. The Reds, the last place team in the NL Central, won the first two games of this series and will leave Dodger Stadium with nothing more than a split.
The Dodgers were successful in a clerical capacity on Friday night, successfully challenging a double switch by the Reds in the seventh inning. This was a communication snafu by Cincinnati manager Jim Riggleman, who just two days ago benefited from the Mets batting out of order.
The cost to the Reds on Friday was that Jesse Winker, who was thought to move from left field to right field in the maneuver, instead had to be removed from the game. Cincinnati infielder Robert Blandino had to play one out in right field, his first professional appearance in the outfield.
This was similar to the Dodgers challenging a double switch by the Twins last July 25.
Baseball fever, catch it!
The Dodgers and Reds are at it again on Saturday night, this time a 6:10 p.m. PT start televised on SportsNet LA and — for those outside of the local markets — on MLB Network, joined in progress at 7 p.m. PT. Ross Stripling starts for the Dodgers on Saturday, facing Homer Bailey for the Reds.
Bailey leads the National League with 11 homers allowed.
Home runs: Max Muncy (3); Scooter Gennett (6)
WP - Austin Brice (1-2): 1⅔ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 4 strikeouts
LP - Kenta Maeda (2-3): 4⅔ IP, 9 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Raisel Iglesias (6): ⅔ IP, 1 strikeout