When the Reds take the field on Saturday, they'll send their hottest pitcher to the mound to try to slow down the Dodgers, who are 7-1 since the All-Star break.
Bronson Arroyo enters Saturday coming off his sixth career shutout, as the 36-year-old right-hander held the Giants to seven hits while striking out six on Monday. It took Arroyo just 108 pitches to deliver career complete game No. 15, which moved him to 9-7 on the year and gave him his 100th Major League win.
Since alowing seven runs in four innings on June 25 in his worst outing of the year, Arroyo has gone 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts. And with the Reds falling to the Dodgers, 2-1, on Friday, Arroyo, who is 6-0 following a Cincinnati loss this season, is the perfect man to start Saturday's matchup.
"I try not to pitch any different, but to be honest, sometimes there's an urgency to the mood in the clubhouse," Arroyo said of pitching after a loss. "This game is very difficult and nobody can go out there and just say, 'I'm going to win the ballgame today.' So, it's partly probably luck and a bit of trying to just really want to not let your team slide downhill again."
Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will start opposite Arroyo on Saturday, hasn't suffered a loss since June 19. However, he wasn't nearly as sharp as he'd like in his last outing on Monday, when he gave up four runs on nine hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Ryu also struck out three batters in that game, but manager Don Mattingly said he didn't quite look the same after 11 days off due to the break.
"His command was a little in and out," Mattingly said. "I almost feel [the rest] was a detriment to him as far as being sharp. It maybe rested him, but I felt like it was a little bit of a detriment to him as far as being sharp with his breaking stuff."
Reds: Hanigan not ready to return
Ryan Hanigan was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, but the Reds catcher feels like he needs more time to recover from his sprained left wrist before returning to the lineup.
"I decided to give it the last two days to just do treatment and break over the hump there," Hanigan said. "The pain is still in there. It's gotten a lot better."
Out of action since July 11, Hanigan tested the wrist in the batting cage on Friday. In 46 games this season, Hanigan has batted .193 with 14 RBIs and two homers, but he's been valuable behind the plate, throwing out 11 of 21 (52 percent) attempted basestealers.
Dodgers: Kemp aims for Aug. 6 return
While Matt Kemp is on the disabled list for the third time this season, he's accepted blame for his current injury. Kemp sprained his left ankle sliding into home on Sunday, but he likely wouldn't have had to slide if he hadn't started jogging to the plate after a Carl Crawford grounder with the bases loaded.
"Everything you do as a player you want to learn from," Mattingly said. "You make mistakes on the field and you want guys to learn from that and get better from that. Matt doesn't want to do that again. So, you'd like to think that makes him a little bit better."
Kemp hopes to put his most recent injury behind him as quickly as possible, and although he hasn't started baseball-related activities, he is optimistic that he can return to the lineup as soon as he is eligible on Aug. 6 against the Cardinals.
"At this point, I'm just kind of hopeful that he's going to be ready to roll in 15 days," Mattingly said. "He's still limping a little bit. Yesterday, he came in and said he felt really good."
• The Dodgers have the best record in baseball since June 21, when they were a season-worst 12 games under .500, going 24-6 in that span. Their 16-5 mark so far in July is on pace for one of the best months in franchise history.
• With a base hit on Friday, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has reached safely in 38 straight games, just three short of matching his career high.
• Among NL teams, the Dodgers have the best record against the Reds since 2006, going 33-16 (.673), including 16-7 (.696) at Dodger Stadium.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.