Making his first start since 2007, the veteran right-hander takes the ball Monday night as the Dodgers look to continue their recent home dominance of the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series.In December 2006, Schmidt signed a three-year, $47 million contract with Los Angeles after winning at least 11 games in six straight seasons, almost entirely with the San Francisco Giants. Since then, however, it's been a frustrating time for both the 36-year-old Schmidt and the Dodgers.The former All-Star went 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA in six starts in 2007, with the last coming on June 16 against the Los Angeles Angels. Four days later he underwent exploratory shoulder surgery. When all was finished, Schmidt had work done to repair a labrum tear, a frayed biceps tendon and clean up scarring in the bursa sac.After a setback during rehab in 2008, Schmidt will finally return to the majors as the Dodgers try to find a fifth starter. Schmidt went 2-0 with a 4.18 ERA in six appearances -- five starts -- for Triple-A Albuquerque this season."We're going to see what we have," manager Joe Torre told the Dodgers' official Web site. "Velocity-wise, we all know he's not what he once was. He seems to be able to pitch within his ability. Physically, he seems to be OK. We're all anxious to see what it will be on Monday. It doesn't matter what I say, we'll have to look at it."Schmidt, who's 4-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 15 career starts versus Cincinnati, knows what he has to do for a successful return."My biggest thing is to get the ball over the plate," Schmidt said. "That's the biggest thing I'm fighting."He may catch a break against the Reds (44-47), who despite splitting a four-game set with Milwaukee over the weekend have lost nine straight games at Dodger Stadium since a 6-1 victory there July 28, 2005.After Jonny Gomes' two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning helped Cincinnati to a 5-3 win over the Brewers on Sunday, the Reds hope to also avoid a seventh consecutive loss overall to Los Angeles (58-34).Matt Kemp's tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning helped the Dodgers on Sunday to a second straight victory, 4-3 over Houston.Kemp is batting .444 (20 for 45) with two homers and 12 RBIs in his last 12 games. Though he's a lifetime .317 hitter versus the Reds, Kemp is 1 for 5 against Cincinnati starter Micah Owings (6-9, 4.94 ERA).The right-hander looks to bounce back after giving up a season-high seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-6 loss at Philadelphia on July 9. Owings, who's already matched his career high for losses in a season, is 1-1 with a 3.71 lifetime ERA in three starts versus the Dodgers.Willy Taveras had two hits Sunday to extend his hitting streak to six games for the Reds, who won for just the fifth times in their last 14 contests."As a team, we need to soak up that win and get it into our system," Gomes told the Reds' official Web site. "We need to try and start a little run."Taveras is 10 for 27 (.370) with two stolen bases during his hitting streak.