The Dodgers have been baseball's best road team this season, entering Thursday's series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park with a 22-13 record. Though the Dodgers were tripped up by Reds' ace Johnny Cueto in a 5-0 loss on Wednesday night, they'll look to beat Alfredo Simon on Thursday afternoon to wrap up a strong road trip.
The Dodgers are 4-2 thus far on their seven-game road trip, and manager Don Mattingly offered up one theory on why the team has performed so much better away from Dodger Stadium, where the team is 13-19.
"The one thing I like about the road is that guys are in a smaller environment," Mattingly said. "Everybody's kind of in that locker room together. And at home, it's so big now, and it's kind of cut up where there's a quiet room, there's a locker room, there's a weight room, and people can go back and get in the sauna or whatever. It's all good stuff, but it just doesn't seem like ... that's the only thing, it's a total guess: that we're not quite as all in one room as you are at home."
Righty Zack Grienke will be tasked with keeping the team's strong road success going. Greinke is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in seven road starts so far this season. He's also had success against Cincinnati, going 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA against the Reds in nine career starts. On May 27 at Dodger Stadium, Greinke gave up three earned runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings, earning the win.
The Reds will counter with Simon (8-3, 3.15), who appears to have secured a permanent role in the starting rotation. Simon was moved to a starting role when Mat Latos was injured in Spring Training, and though Latos is set to be activated on Saturday, all signs point to Tony Cingrani being sent down to clear room.
Simon has certainly earned the spot: He has an 8-3 record and 3.15 ERA in 12 starts. He did take a loss against the Dodgers on May 27, when he allowed five earned runs over 3 2/3 innings.
The fourth-place Reds are looking to gain some consistency. At 30-34, the team is eight games behind National League Central leader Milwaukee. The Reds were a couple of games below .500 in both April and May. They haven't shown signs of a big winning month yet in June.
"We have to go out there and get that," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "We can't sit on our hands and think it's just going to happen. These guys are working hard. There is no complaint as far as the effort goes. [But] the results haven't been great. It could be a lot worse. We're eight games out, five games under .500 and haven't played terribly well collectively. There is room for improvement. I'm confident we will improve."
Reds: Cozart fine after being hit in head
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart showed no ill-effects Wednesday afternoon after being hit in the helmet by a pitch from Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett on Tuesday.
"I went to bed at 2 o'clock and I'm a big sleeper. But I woke up at nine wide awake. It was kind of weird. I felt pretty good," Cozart said.
Cozart, who was in the lineup on Wednesday, was down for a few moments in the fifth inning on Tuesday when an 84-mph pitch banged off the front of the helmet near the left ear flap. He stayed in the game and hit a single in the seventh. Cozart said he underwent testing as protocol for any head trauma and passed easily. Cozart went 0-for-2 on Wednesday.
Dodgers: Hanley a late scratch
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch from the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park due to acromioclavicular joint irritation in his right shoulder.
Chone Figgins was moved from the seventh spot in the order to the second spot and played third base, while Miguel Rojas was inserted into the seventh spot in the lineup, playing shortstop.
Ramirez, who entered the game batting .256 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs, pinch-hit with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning and hit into an inning-ending double play.
• With six scoreless innings on Wednesday, Cueto improved his ERA to a Major League-best 1.85.
• At 11-3, Greinke has the best road winning percentage in the National League since 2013.
• Prior to Tuesday, the Dodgers had held the Reds to four runs or less in 11 straight meetings, dating back to last July.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.