Reds sweep Dodgers, whose 16-24 record is the worst 40-game start since 1958

If this isn't rock bottom, the Dodgers don't want to know.

The Dodgers have to be better than this, or so they keep telling us. They just got swept by the team with the worst record in the National League. They are one game out of last place in the NL West.

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Their 16-24 start is the worst by any Dodgers team since 1958, the inaugural season in Los Angeles.

You are who your record says you are, right?

"That's fair," manager Dave Roberts said.

The Dodgers are 40 games into the season. The sample size is not small.

Maybe it is not inevitable that the Dodgers turn it around. Their record says they are not a good team.

"I don't think we're there yet," Roberts said. "I think that we are a good team. We haven't played like one consistently. But I think that's a fair point: You are what your record is, so it's up to us to prove otherwise."

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The home team Sunday did not play like a good team.

The Cincinnati Reds arrived at Dodger Stadium with the NL's worst record. They left that way too, but only after concluding their first four-game sweep of the Dodgers since 1976, when the Reds' lineup featured Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Ken Griffey — the original, not the Hall of Fame son.

The Dodgers scored nine runs in the four games. On Sunday they collected four hits in six innings against Luis Castillo, who started the day with an earned-run average of 6.47. They had more errors (two) than walks (zero) or hits with runners in scoring position (also zero). They also struck out 12 times.

They also might have lost a third starting pitcher to the disabled list. Rich Hill left the game in the sixth inning because a blister flared up on the middle finger of his left hand.

Hill missed three weeks earlier this season because of what was variously called inflammation, a cracked nail and an infection affecting that finger. He was on the DL twice last season because of blisters on that finger.

In this case, Roberts and Hill sounded optimistic that Hill could make his next scheduled start Saturday.

Hill said he came out because he applied the hard-earned lessons of knowing when to stop pitching when a blister appears.

"It wasn't worth having it completely blow up and have to go back on the DL," he said.

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In his first start this season, Hill pitched six shutout innings for the victory. In his four subsequent starts, he has not won. He has not completed the sixth inning. His ERA is 6.20.

He also has given up seven home runs in his past 15 2/3 innings, including the two-run home run by Eugenio Suarez in the third inning Sunday, putting the Reds ahead to stay.

Joey Votto also hit a two-run home run for the Reds. Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig each hit a solo home run for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers are at a loss for answers, at least publicly.

"I can't explain it," Roberts said. "I don't have an answer for the lack of production."

Cody Bellinger thought he had one, or two. The Dodgers expect to activate infielders Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe on Tuesday, and Bellinger lavished particular praise on Turner.

"We've got the best hitter in the National League, arguably, coming back," Bellinger said.

He reminded his audience that this team is the same one that advanced to Game 7 of the World Series last fall.

"We've got the same squad as last year," he said. "We're going to keep grinding it out. Things will turn around pretty soon."

Turner and Forsythe might be coming back, but Brandon Morrow and Yu Darvish are in Chicago, and Tony Watson is in San Francisco.

Corey Seager was in the clubhouse Sunday wearing a sling, after season-ending elbow surgery.

The Dodgers fly to Miami on Monday, and Roberts said he thought a change of scenery might help after a 1-5 homestand. Kenley Jansen dismissed that suggestion, saying the Dodgers have to play better wherever they are.

Hill volunteered that the effort is there. So, if the Dodgers are trying their hardest and putting in all the work, is the team somehow bound to get better, or is this just how the team is?

"I can't really answer the question about how the team is," Hill said. "I feel like it has to turn around at some point."

He did not say when he believed that point might be.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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