Stage 17 is the first of this year’s Alpine stages, with the main rivals to yellow jersey holder Chris Froome running out of stages to try and reduce his lead of over three minutes.Today’s stage will feature five categorised climbs, as well as a potentially decisive descent before the final climb to Pra Loup.
Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir did his best to pile on. After walking a career-high seven in his previous start, Kazmir struck out 12 in six innings Wednesday. It was his first double-digit K total since his first start of 2015 for the Oakland A’s, his high-whiff mark since another 12-K game for the Cleveland Indians in Sept. 2013 and one short of his career-high (set in 2007 with the Tampa Bay Rays).“This was big, to be able to bounce back after that last outing,” Kazmir said. “Seven walks – I wanted to clean that up.”He did by focusing on his mechanics during a side session between starts.“I was a little more crisp with my delivery,” he said. “There’s a lot of boring things that go along with mechanics. Just say everything was moving towards the plate.“It felt like I had a good fastball. I was able to go in and out and work my changeup off of that.”The Dodgers did a lot of whiffing of their own early on against Reds starter Dan Straily. He retired the first nine Dodgers in order, six by strikeout.The Dodgers reached him for two runs in a third inning that featured a leadoff single by Chase Utley, a walk, a hit batter and a two-run, two-out, bases-loaded single by Joc Pederson. They were Pederson’s 13th and 14th RBI of the month.An inning later, Yasmani Grandal led off with a home run into the right field pavilion. It was the first spark of offensive life from Grandal in some time. He had just two hits in his previous 34 at-bats, striking out 15 times during the blackout. Even with the home run, Grandal has hit a dreadful .117 (7 for 60) in May with 21 strikeouts and just two walks.Those were the only hits the Dodgers had in seven innings against Straily, who racked up 11 strikeouts of his own.But the Reds make everything around them look better – even the Dodgers’ bullpen. After retiring all 10 batters they faced Tuesday, Dodgers relievers retired the final nine Reds in order Wednesday. Including the 12 innings the bullpen pitched in Sunday’s 17-inning marathon, Dodgers relievers have allowed just one run and five hits with 12 strikeouts in 18-1/3 innings over the past four games. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The sweep gives the Dodgers a season-high four-game winning streak and ends a stretch of 20 consecutive games between days off. They haven’t a day off at home since April 11 and will spend their first off day since May 5 flying to New York on Thursday after having gone 11-9 during the long stretch.“Any you play 20 games it’s awful, doesn’t matter if you play well or not. It’s 20 days. I’m just glad we got through it,” said closer Kenley Jansen. “I love baseball. But with all the traveling and all that stuff, it’s not healthy for players, I feel like.“I don’t mind doing it. But 20 days (between off days) – I feel like it’s awful.”Imagine if Jansen had to watch the Reds every day.The woeful Reds have lost their past 10 games now, a stretch that has seen them outscored 72-26 while batting .187 as a team with a 6.85 ERA. Like a bingo card, the National League schedule comes with some free squares.The Dodgers cashed in three this week, completing a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night despite managing just three hits in the game.“It was good to play some clean baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Obviously that team over there is struggling now. … They’re not playing great baseball. But for us to take care of business and win three at home, we feel pretty good about ourselves right now.”The Dodgers haven’t been playing particularly great baseball either. But they’ve been playing a lot of it.