Published November 20, 2014
The Cincinnati Reds locked up the NL Central title on Saturday. The Los Angeles Dodgers can't win their division, but they still have a shot at the postseason.
The two teams conclude a three-game series tonight at Great American Ball Park.
The Dodgers enter Sunday three games behind St. Louis for the second wild card spot. They were officially eliminated from the NL West race when the San Francisco Giants secured that division crown Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Reds clinched their second division title in three years on Saturday with a 6-0 win.
Aaron Harang had been slated to start for the Dodgers on Sunday, but reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will get the nod instead, making his first appearance since Sept. 11.
Kershaw had been dealing with a hip ailment, but has been cleared to go with the Dodgers battling for their postseason lives. He is 12-9 on the year with a 2.70 ERA.
"I can't give you an answer. I don't have an answer," manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday when asked about Kershaw's availability. "We haven't gotten the green light that we're all on go. The medical staff is in deep thought over there. When I know, I'll let you know.
"It's fair to say he's getting ready to pitch again. Just don't know when."
Homer Bailey, who is 2-0 over his last four starts, will be on the hill for the Reds. The right-hander has thrown at least seven innings in wins against the Cubs and Pirates. He's 3-1 with a 4.06 ERA in five games versus the Dodgers.
Yesterday, Mat Latos went eight innings, and Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips both homered for Cincinnati in a 6-0 win. Latos (13-4) scattered six hits, struck out seven without issuing a walk and didn't allow a runner to reach scoring position to improve to 8-2 in his last 17 starts.
Todd Frazier added a fifth-inning RBI and Zack Cozart hit a two-run, bases- loaded single in the eighth, as the Reds stormed their way to the NL Central title. They were the first team in the majors this season to lock up their division.
"It's not a shock at all because we've been taking care of business here for a while," Bruce said. "We kind of knew it was coming. We've worked really hard this year like we did then (2010). We deserve this and we deserve a lot more. We're going to go get it."
Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker was not present to celebrate the victory, as he remained in a Chicago hospital and missed his fourth straight game with an irregular heartbeat.
"If Dusty would have been here it would have been a whole lot better. We miss our manager. He's like a father figure to me," Phillips said during the postgame celebration. "When he gets here, I'm going to save one bottle for him."
Stephen Fife (0-2) gave up two runs on five hits over five innings to take the loss in his fifth major league start. The 25-year-old is still searching for his first big league win.
"The legs weren't underneath me all that well," Fife said. "We just didn't execute all that well today."
The Dodgers won two of three from the Reds at Dodger Stadium July 2-4 and are 21-13 all-time at Great American Ball Park.
13 all-time at Great American Ball Park.