And then the day after Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke started, there was more of the same. That translated into another early exit from the starting pitcher and more difficulty for the bullpen.
The final result was a dispiriting 10-3 Dodgers loss to the Reds on a muggy Thursday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 47,216.
Mat Latos started, and though he was certainly better than his last start, when he surrendered six runs in four innings, he still was not very good. He lasted 4 2/3 innings this time, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits.
In his three starts for the Dodgers since that three-player trade at the non-waiver deadline, Latos (4-9) has 6.75 ERA.
Then the bullpen came on and surrendered five more runs.
By the time the night was over, the Reds had pounded out 15 hits, including a three-run homer from Eugenio Suarez and a solo homer from Billy Hamilton, who managed a career-high four hits.
Latos pitched two scoreless innings before running into his first trouble in the third. Tucker Barnhart doubled and was advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Hamilton singled Barnhart home and went to third when Latos threw away a pick-off attempt for an error. Brandon Phillips singled Hamilton in for the first of his three RBIs.
The Reds added one more in the fourth after Todd Frazier led off with a double. He stole third when Alberto Callaspo dropped catcher A.J. Ellis' throw, and scored on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers scored their first run in the bottom of the inning when Joc Pederson homered to left. For the struggling Pederson, it was his 22nd home run of the season but just his second in his last 35 games.
The Reds chased Latos -- their former teammate who did not exactly leave the organization to hugs and kisses -- with two more runs in the fifth. Hamilton singled with one out and stole second, his MLB-best 53rd steal of the season. Phillips doubled in Hamilton, and Suarez doubled in Phillips.
Latos intentionally walked Joey Votto before striking out Frazier, his last hitter for the night.
Then came a parade of five relievers. Luis Avilan pitched two-thirds of an inning and was charged with three runs. Pedro Baez gave up a run in his two-thirds of an inning, and J.P. Howell gave up the homer to Hamilton.
One pitcher who did not allow a run was Jim Johnson. His one scoreless inning lowered his ERA as a Dodger from 29.45 to 23.14.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers could do little with Reds rookie pitcher Keyvius Sampson, who was making just his third career start. Sampson (2-1) went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks.