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Game 3: Reds v. Dodgers, Preview and Predictions

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

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Los Angeles Dodgers
@ Cincinnati Reds

Sunday, Sep 8, 2013, 8:05 PM EDT
Great American Ball Park

Clayton Kershaw vs Homer Bailey

Cloudy. Winds blowing in from left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 75.

Complete Coverage >

Clayton Kershaw is probably going to win the NL Cy Young. In fact, he may very well win the NL MVP as well. In other words, he has been filthy-dirty-nasty in a way only matched by Larry Flynt's entrepreneurial endeavors.  His ERA is so low that it is reminiscent of  Pedro Martinez's 1997 endeavor and he has been part of the reason why the Dodgers, until Friday of course, have been white hot since the All Star Break. While Marty Brennaman may bemoan his 14-8 record (wins are the RBIs of pitching stats), his 1.89 ERA, 201 strikeouts, and his ERA+ of 187 thus far is a fairly decent indicator that he is the ace of the Dodgers pitching staff. Oh, and the best pitcher in the NL in 2013. In terms of silver linings, Kershaw is coming off of a rough start against the Rockies where he lasted only five innings and gave up five runs. In Brennaman-alleviating-style, he did pitch well enough to earn a victory.

In battling Kershaw, Homer Bailey will have to step his game up (again) and all indicators suggest that he's up to the challenge. As you may recall, Bailey's last start resulted in a 1-0 win against the Cardinals. Bailey held the Ratbirds to 5 hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings in what may have been one of the most pivotal games of the year.. While tonight's  game may not be against their nemesis, it will be against the cream of the NL West's crop in prime time.

Bailey will look to improve on his .500 record of 10-10 and will do so with a lineup that returns Brandon Phillips to the fold. Cesar Izturis performed a yeoman's effort filling in for the All Star second baseman on Saturday and will spend today's game from the dugout in while silently hoping that  BP's bruised thigh is not re-aggravated. Sunday's lineup will also include Chris Heisey and Homer's battery-mate of his two no-hitters, Ryan Hanigan.

The Reds have an opportunity to sweep the Dodgers tonight and win their second consecutive series against would-be playoff teams. I honestly do not know how you cannot get excited about that. I also do not understand why anyone would want to watch football over this sweet and beautiful game. I'm not sure who is playing tonight on national television. It might be Tim Tebow and Ray Lewis judging by what they were talking about today on ESPN.*  So yeah, there's your choice. A baseball game with two dynamic pitchers with playoff implications or the future plaintiffs in a concussion class action settlement. Hint: watch my favorite team. Second hint: they're the Reds!

Bullpen Log

Reliever 9/3 9/4 9/5 9/6 9/7 5 day totals
Aroldis Chapman 1.0, 14p 1.0, 14p 1.0, 20p 1.0, 13p
4.0 IP, 61 pitches
Sam LeCure
0.2, 15p 1.0, 12p
1.0, 11p 2.2 IP, 38 pitches
J.J. Hoover
2.0, 39p

1.0, 17p 3.0 IP, 56 pitches
Manny Parra 1.0, 17p
1.0, 16p 0.1, 1p
2.1 IP, 34 pitches
Logan Ondrusek
2.0, 29p

2.0 IP, 29 pitches
Alfredo Simon
3.0, 30p

0.2, 8p

3.2 IP, 38 pitches

Zach Duke
0.1, 6p 0.2, 2p
0.1, 6p 1.1 IP, 14 pitches
Curtis Partch

0.0 IP, 0 pitches
Greg Reynolds

0.0 IP, 0 pitches
Nick Christiani

0.0 IP, 0 pitches

*Yes, I know the Giants and the Cowboys are playing tonight. In fact, I'm a Giants fan. This doesn't change anything though.