In a span of two weeks, the Reds have faced Adam Wainwright, Hyun-Jin-Ryu, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels.
That's a daunting list of dominant starting pitchers, and a Cincinnati offense that has struggled throughout much of the season will continue to see more of the same when the Dodgers visit Great American Ball Park for a four-game series beginning Monday night.
With Josh Beckett, Ryu and Greinke on tap, the relatively good news for the Reds is that Dan Haren is scheduled to take the hill against them in the series opener. Haren has been good this season, but after a superb start in which he posted a 2.03 ERA in March and April, the right-hander had a 4.30 ERA in May before giving up four runs over six innings in a loss to the White Sox in his first June start. He's lost three consecutive decisions.
After his last outing on Tuesday, Haren regretted not being able to carry momentum from the previous game's win into his start, falling behind right off the bat.
"We won a game [last Monday] getting those couple of errors, and you like to maintain some type of momentum, which we just haven't really done," he said. "Giving up two runs in the first inning is an easy way to kill the vibe."
Haren, who is 3-3 with a 4.95 ERA in his career against Cincinnati, would like to change the vibe for the Dodgers, who had lost seven of 10 games going into Sunday's series finale against the Rockies. The Reds meanwhile, are trying to build some consistency after having won four straight, lost three straight, and winning again on Saturday and Sunday.
One constant for Cincinnati through the ups and downs of their 2014 campaign has been defense, as displayed when the Reds cut down two Phillies' runners at the plate in their 6-5 win Saturday.
"They're not small details. They're extremely significant details," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And those are the things for a team that plays a lot of one-run games are decisions and plays that have to be made for us to be the type of team that we think we are. [Saturday], getting that perfect relay twice really substantiated what we're trying to do."
Cincinnati is scheduled to send left-hander Tony Cingrani to the mound on Monday night. Cingrani, who is trying to stay in the Reds' rotation once Mat Latos (right elbow/left knee) is activated from the DL, was good through the first five innings of his last outing on Wednesday against the Giants, but gave up three runs with two outs and nobody on in the sixth, leading to a 3-2 loss.
The southpaw will look to get back on track against a team that he shut out for seven innings in his first career start against them on July 28 of last season.
Dodgers: Puig, Gordon dealing with hip injuries
Both right fielder Yasiel Puig and second baseman Dee Gordon, each a key cog in Los Angeles' lineup, had to leave Saturday's game against the Rockies with hip issues. Puig had a hip flexor strain, while Gordon had to exit with discomfort in his right hip.
"I felt a stretch in the leg," Puig said, motioning toward the left side of his lower abdomen. "I got treatment and hope it's not a big issue. I didn't want to come out, but medical said if I didn't come out, it could get worse."
Puig and Gordon are both day to day, with Gordon saying after Saturday's game that the discomfort wasn't serious. Neither was in the lineup in the club's 6-1 win in the series finale with the Rockies on Sunday.
Reds: Hamilton's elbow tested, feels good
Center fielder Billy Hamilton missed last Sunday's game with a sore elbow after making a throw from the warning track to third base in Arizona the day before. On Saturday against the Phillies, Hamilton started two relays that resulted in outs at home plate.
"That long throw was another good test of my elbow. It feels really good," Hamilton said before Sunday's series finale. "It was two big plays. I'm still excited about it today. We got a 'W.'"
• Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, right fielder Ryan Ludwick and shortstop Zack Cozart each have a pair of home runs in their careers against Haren. Phillips is 6-for-18 (.333) with five RBIs against the right-hander, Ludwick is 5-for-9 (.556) with four RBIs, and Cozart is 3-for-5 with four RBIs.
• The Dodgers, who went into Sunday's game against the Rockies batting .253 as a team on the season, were hitting .224 over their previous 12 games.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.