It’s the middle of June and do you know where the Dodgers’ first four-game winning streak is?
Waiting in the second half? Never to be seen? Lost in Stan Kasten’s summer dreams?
It might as well be the Lost City of Atlantis to the Dodgers, who had their latest winning streak ended at three games Wednesday by Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds, 5-0, at Great American Ball Park.
Four times this season, the Dodgers have scraped together three-game winning streaks, and four times they’ve failed to extend it to four games.
Sixty-seven games into the season and not once have they stumbled into a mere four-game winning streak. Like those mighty teams the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays.
They even sent out Hyun-Jin Ryu, who had not lost a road game this season, and it didn’t matter. Ryu (7-3) was less than sharp, surrendering four runs, six hits and two walks in his six innings.
Cueto (6-5) just blew down the Dodgers. He struck out 12 in six innings, giving up only two hits and not walking a batter. The 12 strikeouts matched his career high, set in April against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The game started poorly for the Dodgers and continued a downward spiral. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez was a last-minute scratch because of a sore shoulder. Then Matt Kemp was called out on strikes in the second inning (for his fifth consecutive strikeout) and was ejected while screaming some unpleasantries at plate umpire Seth Buckminster. Maybe Kemp didn’t notice the Dodgers were already playing without Ramirez.
Minus two of their more valued hitters, the Dodgers went meekly. They did not manage their first hit until Dee Gordon led off the fourth inning with a single, and he was promptly picked off by Cueto.
The Dodgers did load the bases with one out in the seventh inning on an Adrian Gonzalez double, a walk to Scott Van Slyke, who had replaced Kemp, and a soft single by Andre Ethier.
The Reds called on former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton and the Dodgers countered by calling on Ramirez to pinch-hit. The Reds won that one, Ramirez bouncing into double play. If the theory was that Ramirez's shoulder was good enough to at least hit, it appeared it might have backfired as he walked off slowly and acted like he had irritated the injury.
It just wasn't a good night.
Unable to score for two innings against Cincinnati’s middle relief, the Dodgers had no chance in the ninth inning against Aroldis Chapman, who hit his usual 100-plus mph in retiring the Dodgers in order.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times