The Los Angeles Dodgers have been the hottest team in baseball for over a month. However, lefty Chris Capuano hasn't contributed much to the team's recent success.
On Sunday, he tries to reverse his recent fortunes and lead the Dodgers to a series win in the finale of their four-game set with the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles is an MLB-best 25-6 since June 22. The 31-game stretch is tied for team's best run moving to L.A. in 1958. Capuano, though, has contributed just one win in that time and has allowed five runs in three of his last four starts.
"He's had good outings and he's had a few rough ones," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of Capuano, who started the year in the bullpen. "We're trying to solidify that four and five spot in our rotation and he's one of those guys. We count on him pitching, and good."
Capuano was banged around by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, as he gave up five runs and seven hits in just 4 1/3 innings. Luckily, the Dodgers staged an amazing comeback in that one and won the game to leave Capuano with a no decision.
"It was a tough day personally," said Capuano, who is 3-6 with a 5.03 ERA.
Los Angeles continued its winning ways on Saturday, as Hyun-Jin Ryu spun seven innings of one-run ball to guide the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory. Skip Schumaker hit a two-run homer while Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez added one RBI apiece for the Dodgers, who sit 1 1/2 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks atop the NL West standings.
"This is the best he's been over his last few games. You saw from the first batter he was very serious tonight. He had something extra on his heater and he had a good change-up," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Ryu.
The Dodgers are 8-1 since the break and have outscored their opponents, 55-29, in that span.
Jay Bruce provided the only offense for the Reds with a homer in the second inning.
Bronson Arroyo (9-8) gave up three runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings to absorb the loss.
"It was a battle, even warming up in the bullpen. I fell behind a lot in counts. If I would have made it to the sixth I would have been happy, but I didn't," said Arroyo.
Getting the call for the Reds on Sunday will be lefty Tony Cingrani, who is 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Cingrani defeated the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, holding them to a pair of runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"I was battling myself a little bit," Cingrani said. "I couldn't get my offspeed pitches over too much, but it was enough to get through six, and then I struggled a little the seventh."
Los Angeles won four of six versus the Reds a season ago.