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Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Reds will take on the Dodgers over the weekend in a three-game series.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Reds fans enjoy few things more than sweeping the Cardinals, so spirits are high heading into Cincinnati’s weekend series with Los Angeles. The Reds are riding a four-game winning streak, and they enter tonight’s game just two back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

Here is what you need to know about Los Angeles before the first pitch on Friday night.

Last Season and What’s Ahead

The Dodgers finished the 2016 season with a 91-71 record. That was good enough for first place in the NL West. Los Angeles knocked off Washington in the Divison Series (3-2), but they fell to the Cubs in NLCS (4-2).

Los Angeles is off to another good start this season. Currently, the team is 36-25, although that record has them third in their division behind Colorado and Arizona. The Dodgers have been especially good at home where they have a 22-10 record.

FanGraphs projects the Dodgers to go 59-42 in their remaining games. Baseball Prospectus predicts a slightly better 61-40 record.

Notable New Faces

Sergio Romo (signed)

Franklin Gutierrez (signed)

Logan Forsythe (trade)

Fare Thee Well

Howie Kendrick

Josh Reddick

J.P. Howell

Joe Blanton

Brett Anderson

Jesse Chavez

You can read a complete review of the Dodgers offseason here.

Key Injuries

Scott Kazmir: 60-day DL, hip

Joc Pederson: 7-day DL, concussion

Andrew Toles: out for season, torn ACL

Justin Turner: 10-day DL, hamstring (should return this series)

The Lineup

Corey Seager - SS
.274/.379/.451, 8 HR, 41 R, 25 RBI, 2 SB

Yasmani Grandal - C
.265/.323/.448, 6 HR, 19 R, 25 RBI, 0 SB

Adrian Gonzalez - 1B
.264/.316/.352, 1 HR, 9 R, 22 RBI, 0 SB

Cody Bellinger - LF
.247/.321/.547, 12 HR, 27 R, 31 RBI, 4 SB

Logan Forsythe - 3B
.191/.318/.258, 1 HR, 10 R, 6 RBI, 1 SB

Chase Utley - 2B
.231/.331/.377, 3 HR, 17 R, 15 RBI, 3 SB

Yasiel Puig - RF
.235/.310/.405, 9 HR, 25 R, 31 RBI, 8 SB

Chris Taylor - CF
.305/.395/.518, 7 HR, 26 R, 24 RBI, 4 SB

The Pitchers (for this series)

Rich Hill (vs. Amir Garrett) - Friday at 10:10 ET

Hill enters tonight’s game with a 2-2 record and 4.15 ERA. In six starts for the Dodgers, he’s striking out nine batters per nine. Once again, blister issues have been a problem for Hill this season.

Alex Wood (vs. Asher Wojciechowski) - Saturday at 10:10 ET

Wood is 6-0 in eight starts for Los Angeles. He has a surprisingly good 1.69 ERA, and he’s striking out an impressive 11.3 per nine. This will be his first start since May 26. He was on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (vs. Tim Adleman) - Sunday at 4:10 ET

Ryu enters Sunday’s contest with a 2-6 record and 4.08 ERA in 9 starts.

Great Reds vs. Dodgers Moments in History

In 1995, the Reds actually let one of their broadcasters come out of the booth and pitch.* He recorded the final out as Cincinnati swept the Dodgers in the NLDS.

Actually, if you’re looking for some summer reading there is a new book that explores the Reds and Dodgers bitter rivalry during the late-60s through the 70s.

Prediction

The Reds avoid Clayton Kershaw which is good, but they still have to deal with several tough pitching matchups. The Dodgers have also been good at home which leads me to believe they will take two out of three in this series.

*It’s a joke. Please don’t yell at me in the comments.