The Cincinnati Reds have to be a pretty confident bunch after knocking off the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers in Thursday's opener.
Struggling starter Homer Bailey would love to get in on the act Friday night when his Reds play the second contest of a four-game series with the Dodgers.
The right-handed Bailey has lost all three of his starts since throwing a no- hitter -- the second of his career -- on July 2 versus San Francisco. He has a 5.50 earned run average over his skid, falling to 5-9 with a 3.84 ERA in 20 starts this season.
Bailey was able to log a quality start last time out on Sunday versus Pittsburgh, striking out a career-high 12 over 6 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs, seven hits and a walk while throwing 121 pitches in a 3-2 setback.
"Well, I don't really have much of a hand in that," said Bailey about the lack of run support. "Days like today, after a while it may start getting to you a bit, but I just have to keep going out there and trying to make pitches."
The 27-year-old is 3-2 with a 4.54 ERA in six previous meetings with the Dodgers, who counter with the major league's ERA leader in Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw has won four of his past five starts, striking out 37 over 39 innings. That burst has gotten him to 9-6 through 21 starts this season with a 2.01 ERA.
The 25-year-old southpaw won in Washington on Sunday, allowing two hits over seven innings. Both hits for Washington were solo homers, but Kershaw did not walk a batter and also struck out nine.
Kershaw is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA in six lifetime encounters with the Reds.
Cincinnati was able to halt Los Angeles' six-game winning streak with a 5-2 triumph on Thursday night. Mat Latos held the Dodgers to just two runs -- one earned -- over 7 2/3 innings to win for the first time at Dodger Stadium.
"I felt pretty good. I was able to work my fastball in and I made pitches when I needed to. I was able to go deep into the game, which helped our bullpen," said Latos.
Jay Bruce and Xavier Paul supported Latos with homers as the Reds improved to 4-1 on an 11-game road trip and won for the fifth time in their past seven overall.
However, they still sit five games back of St. Louis for first place in the NL Central.
Zack Greinke went into last night's start for the Dodgers having won five straight decisions and undefeated in his career versus the Reds. However, he was touched for four runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings, losing at home for the first time in 2013.
"Zack had pretty good stuff. I thought we had pretty good energy, we just couldn't do anything with their guy. Mat (Latos) has quality stuff," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Adrian Gonzalez plated a pair of runs with two groundouts as the Dodgers went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Los Angeles fell to 23-6 since June 21, but the loss also cut their newly- claimed edge over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West to just a half game.
This contest features the two players with the longest active on-base streaks in baseball. The Reds' Joey Votto singled twice and has reached base in 37 straight, while Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-4 to run his streak to 33 games in a row.
The Dodgers won four of six versus the Reds a season ago.