Whether it be a feeling of panic or a greater sense of urgency, Clayton Kershaw would like the Los Angeles Dodgers to start playing with it in the heat of a playoff race.
The NL West leaders hope to regain their edge as they try to end to their longest road losing streak in seven years Tuesday night against the Central-worst Cincinnati Reds.
Although they've dropped 10 of 15, the Dodgers have been fortunate their division lead has only been trimmed from three to 1 1/2 games because San Francisco has lost five of seven.
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Los Angeles (67-56) was no-hit by Houston's Mike Fiers on Friday and has batted .163 while totaling nine runs during a season-high five-game losing streak. Justin Turner is 1 for 22 over his last six games, while Jimmy Rollins has gone 3 for 22 in his past five.
The Dodgers went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position in a 3-2, 10-inning loss Sunday at Minute Maid Park. They've dropped eight straight road games for the first time since a 10-game skid in 2008.
"I think panic's a good thing to a certain extent," said Kershaw, Sunday's starting pitcher. "It's obvious we've got five weeks or whatever it is, too. So, there's a sense of urgency. Maybe that's better to say than panic. I feel like we've got to start playing like that.''
Los Angeles appears to have an opportune matchup in which to turn things around as it opens this three-game series at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati (52-71) snapped a nine-game losing streak overall and an eight-game slide at home with Monday's 12-5 win over Detroit.
The Dodgers took the last three of a four-game home series against the Reds from Aug. 13-16. This will be a rematch of the Aug. 14 matchup when Alex Wood allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings and John Lamb gave up five over six in the Dodgers' 5-3 win.
Wood (8-8, 3.79 ERA) has yielded at least three runs in each of his four outings with Los Angeles.
The left-hander will have to be cautious with Joey Votto, who had a two-run home run and a double off him in the first meeting. Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier went 1 for 9.
Votto, Phillips and Eugenio Suarez homered Monday when Cincinnati scored 10 in the sixth inning after averaging 2.4 runs over its previous 10 at home.
''We just play the game as best we can and try to stay humble,'' Phillips said. ''Even when you lose you want to have fun but I tell the young guys to never get used to losing.''
After making his big-league debut in Los Angeles following his arrival from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto trade, Lamb (0-1, 6.35) allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings Thursday but did not factor in a 5-4 home loss to Arizona. He's struck out 15 batters over his first two outings.
"I'm real pleased with what we've seen from him," manager Bryan Price told MLB's official website.
Turner, Kike Hernandez and Rollins each had two hits when facing the Los Angeles-area native at Chavez Ravine. Adrian Gonzalez's three-run home run in the fifth inning was the big blow.
Gonzalez is hitting .337 with nine homers in 25 career games at Cincinnati, while Hernandez is 8 for 17 versus the Reds this season and Carl Crawford is hitting .350 in 16 career games against them.