CINCINNATI -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admits to feeling fortunate that his club is in the thick of the pennant race despite myriad injuries, most notably the herniated disk that has kept ace Clayton Kershaw out for nearly two months, but Roberts says he's not surprised.
"We're right where we need to be in the race coming into September," he said. "If you look at what we've endured (with injuries), I feel fortunate. That's fair to say to be within a half game of first place. Am I surprised? No. With the players we have, I'm not. Our guys are focused on winning baseball games. That's what we need to do moving forward."
LA will face the Cincinnati Reds on Monday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series.
The Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory on Sunday behind six shutout innings from 20-year-old rookie left-hander Julio Urias.
Left-hander Scott Kazmir will start for Los Angeles. Kazmir picked up his 10th victory on Wednesday, allowing two runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-2 Dodgers win.
He has been stellar away from Dodger Stadium, going 6-0 with a 4.77 ERA on the road while limiting opponents to a .223 average.
Kazmir last faced Cincinnati on May 25 when he gave up one run and four hits in six innings of a 3-1 win on May 25 in Los Angeles. In two career starts against the Reds, Kazmir has gone 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA with 17 strikeouts and just three walks in 13 innings.
Getting Homer Bailey back from injury has been a boost for Cincinnati. On Sunday, Bailey will make his fifth start of the season and 10th career start against the Dodgers.
Coming off multiple arm surgeries, Bailey has gone 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in four starts. Shortly after signing a six-year, $105 million contract, the injuries came hard and fast for the former first-round draft choice and owner of two no-hitters.
On September 15, 2014, Bailey had surgery to repair the torn flexor tendon in his right forearm. Then, on May 8, 2015, he had "Tommy John" surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Early returns indicate that Bailey has come back stronger than ever. He has gone 4-3 with a 3.84 ERA in nine career starts against the Dodgers.
The Reds have gone 21-13 since the All-Star break and have won eight of 10 series. They'll have a chance to make it nine of 11 with a win over the Dodgers on Monday.
Cincinnati will have both right fielder Scott Schebler and first baseman Joey Votto back in the lineup after both got days off Sunday.
After residing in last place in the National League Central for 98 straight days, the Reds were in fourth, a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers after Sunday's loss.
"We were on a prodigious run lately," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Like the Jeffersons said, we're moving on up."