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Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

As four-run Dodger victories go, Tuesday’s 5-1 win at Cincinnati was a nailbiter.

Los Angeles had a 5-0 lead against the Reds with 10 outs to go in the game. Under normal circumstances, you would recline in your chair a bit.

But there was the hovering drone of the five-game losing streak, with two of those five defeats directly tied to the bullpen. In between was a loss charged to Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Alex Wood, who gave up the go-ahead run August 19 to Oakland … with 10 outs to go in the game.

So here we were at Great American Ball Park.  Ten outs to go. Bases empty. Five runs ahead. Maybe this night would go easier.

Here’s how many pitches it took to get each of the next 10 outs (click to enlarge):

Bullpen August 25

It should jump out at you that of those 10 remaining outs, six came quickly and were quite routine. Yeah, there was a massive foul ball by Brayan Pena off Kenley Jansen, but that was with the bases empty and two out in the ninth.

But the final outs of the sixth and eighth innings … those were the times that try fans’ souls.

In the bottom of the sixth, the tension was underscored by just how far the Dodgers had to go to get to the end of the game, how intimidating those final 10 outs seemed.  If it was going to be so hard to get one — three pitchers, 13 pitches — how would they ever get nine more?

We were 14 pitches and a baserunner into the seventh inning before J.P. Howell got an out, but that turned out to be two-for-Tuesday special, so the jeopardy factor was fairly low.

Then, just when you might have relaxed — three outs on seven pitches after the double play — you were punished. The game crept slowly, from two out/bases empty … to man on first … to men on first and second … to bases loaded, tying run at the plate … to Jay Bruce taking two 93 mph fastballs and fouling off two 94 mph fastballs on his way to a 2-2 count … and seemingly nowhere for Luis Avilan to go.

Seventeen Dodger pitches with two out in the eighth. Seventeen pitches, with only two swing-and-misses. Seventeen pitches, each more agonizing than the last. Seventeen pitches, holding us in suspended aggravation, until Avilan threw that final, liberating curveball for strike three.

After 11 more flings by Jansen, Dodger fans could exhale.

No, you wouldn’t think it should be this hard. Right now, it is. It won’t always be, and man, will we appreciate that.