(Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez- USA TODAY Sports)
The Los Angeles Dodgers will face the Cincinnati Reds this weekend in what marks the Dodgers’ first matchup with a team in playoff contention since their three game set with the Boston Red Sox two weeks ago.
After a bleak effort put forth against the Red Sox, where the Dodgers dropped two of the three games, they are looking to bounce back with better effort and results in Cincinnati.
Should they drop another series to a playoff-caliber team, it could begin to generate concerns for the Dodgers’ potential playoff success.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, the series against the Reds figures to differ from the one against the Red Sox due to various factors. First, on top of being one of the better American League teams, the Red Sox were making only their second all-time appearance at Dodger Stadium, which added more unnecessary hype to the matchup.
The Red Sox also had the good fortune of not having to face Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke.
Although the Reds are also in the playoff picture, this weekend’s series has not received the same amount of attention as the games against the Red Sox did. Of course, this is due in large part to the Dodgers and Reds both being members of the National League, thus playing each other a number of times every season.
The Reds also will not have the luck the Red Sox did and will have to face Clayton Kershaw on Saturday and Zack Greinke on Sunday. Given the performances the Dodger aces have put forth, you would have to believe the Dodgers are likely to win the two games they are set to pitch.
The setting of this series may also have an influence on the outcome of the games. Whereas Dodger players may have been dealing with various distractions that come with a big home series, those same distractions should be mitigated since the games are being played in Cincinnati.
Manager Don Mattingly was none too pleased with his team’s performance after the Boston series and implored his team to learn from their struggles against an elite team.
Two weeks later, Mattingly will get to see how much of his message the team absorbed or ignored.