Series Preview: Pirates vs. Dodgers

Pirates vs Dodgers

Pittsburgh Pirates (52-46)

vs.

Los Angeles Dodgers (55-45)

Monday, July 21st – 7:05 pm
Tuesday, July 22nd – 7:05 pm
Wednesday, July 23rd – 7:05 pm

PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA

BUY TICKETS

Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Pirates kicked off the second half with a big sweep of the Rockies and now sit just 1.5 games out of first place in the Central. LA Dodgers up next.

[divider type=””]

Probable Pitchers

Monday – Edinson Volquez vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu

Tuesday – Vance Worley vs. Josh Beckett

Wednesday – Francisco Liriano vs. Dan Haren

[divider type=””]

News, Notes, Storylines

– At 32-20, the Pirates have the best home record in the National League.

– At 30-21, the Dodgers have the best road record in the National League.

– The Bucs took three of four from LA at Dodger Stadium back at the end of May.

– Both Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez got hit by a pitch on the hand this weekend. Puig had to leave Saturday’s game early and didn’t play Sunday; Ramirez left last night’s game in the ninth inning. Neither will play on Monday night.

[divider type=””]

Opponent Blogs

True Blue LA | Dodgers Digest | Lasorda’s Lair

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”After sending four representatives to the All-Star Game in Minnesota, the Dodgers dropped two of three games in St. Louis for a losing week, and even though they ended on a high note with a win on Sunday both Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez were hit by a pitch on the hand over the weekend and could miss some time.” – True Blue LA[/quote_simple]

[divider type=””]

Player to Watch

gpolanco

Gregory Polanco. He’s been ice cold after getting off to a hot start…

June 10 – June 26: .338/.416/.441

June 27 – July 20: .162/.253/.216

He’s gone 0-for-5 in each of the last two games, and has just three hits in his last 28 at-bats. He’ll get an off day on Monday against the lefty Ryu, but hopefully El Coffee can break out of his slump this week.

[divider type=””]

Prediction Time

The Dodgers aren’t looking as dangerous this week — Puig and Hanley are hurt, and Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke aren’t in line to pitch. I think the Pirates can take advantage of that and take two of three to push them closer to first place…

Go Bucs

Pirates-Dodgers Series Recap

Great weekend for the Bucs in Los Angeles.  You’ll take three out of four from any team, but leaving LA with three wins against the most talented team in all of baseball is quite an accomplishment.

The series opened up with Gerrit Cole facing Dan Haren on Thursday night, and Cole came away the victor.  The teams traded runs before the Bucs put up three in the 7th to make the score 6-3, which ended up being the final.  Cole allowed three runs in 6+ innings and only struck out three batters, but was still effective through the middle innings.  Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin paced the offense with solo homers, while Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker each picked up an RBI.  Josh Harrison stayed hot with two runs batted in, including the game-winner.


 

Francisco Liriano picked up his first win of the year on Friday night as the Bucs were able to guarantee at least a split of the series.  Frankie out-dueled Josh Beckett, who was making his first start since no-hitting the Phillies.  Neil Walker drove home a run to make it 1-0 and Ike Davis crushed a solo homer to CF to put the Bucs up 2-0.  Liriano kept the Dodgers off the board through his 5.2 innings, and the bullpen picked up right where he left off.  LA picked up a run late off but Jason Grilli slammed the door with a 1-2-3 9th to close out the 2-1 win.


 

Saturday’s contest was unlike the first two, with the Dodgers cruising to a 12-2 win.  Brandon Cumpton was rocked, allowing 11 runs in less than 4 innings.  Hanley Ramirez left the yard twice to lead the way on offense, and Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed 6 innings to earn a win.


 

The Bucs bounced back from the beating they took on Saturday night to put on an impressive display on the national stage Sunday night.  Cutch put on a clinic, doubling twice and taking Zack Greinke deep for his first home run since late April.  He also made a slick sliding catch in shallow centerfield, so he was certainly backing up his MVP and Gold Glove awards on the big stage.  Josh Harrison also went deep, and Pedro drove in three runs, two of which came with two outs.  Edinson Volquez went 5 innings and probably could have gone longer, but you’ll take two runs in 5 innings from your #5 starter every time.  Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon breezed through the 6th, 7th, and 8th to set up Jason Grilli.  He had a slight hiccup but was able to record his third save in four days.

Without dwelling too much on the shellacking the Bucs took on Saturday, this weekend was just what they needed.  They’re not setting the world on fire by any means, but three of four against the Dodgers in LA is no small feat.  They’ll need to carry the momentum into San Diego win at least two against the Padres, which is a team that they *should* beat.  The absolute worst thing that could happen now is that they roll into San Diego, lay an egg, and go back to square one.

Also, it’s officially June and a couple of top prospects have already been called up, so let Polanco Watch begin.

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates @ Dodgers

Pirates vs Dodgers

Pittsburgh Pirates (23-29)

@

Los Angeles Dodgers (29-25)

Thursday, May 29th – 10:10 pm
Friday, May 30th – 10:10 pm
Saturday, May 31st – 7:15 pm
Sunday, June 1st – 8:07 pm

Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles, CA

BUY TICKETS

Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The long roadtrip got off to a disappointing start, as the Pirates dropped two of three to the Mets in the Big Apple (and it easily could’ve been a sweep). At 23-29 (eight games back), they need to play catch-up now more than ever. The Bucs have sucked in Los Angeles over the years, losing 31 of their last 38 contests at Chavez Ravine. If they play anything like they did in New York, it’ll be a brutal weekend that could possibly leave them 10 games under .500…

[divider type=””]

Probable Pitchers

Thursday – Gerrit Cole vs. Dan Haren

Friday – Francisco Liriano vs. Josh Beckett

Saturday – Brandon Cumpton vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu

Sunday – Edinson Volquez vs. Zack Greinke

[divider type=””]

News, Notes, Storylines

– Two primetime games on tap: FOX on Saturday night, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball the following evening.

– Josh Beckett, fresh off of Sunday’s no-hit performance, gets the Bucs on Friday.

– Thankfully the Pirates will miss Clayton Kershaw, who pitched yesterday.

– Dodgers’ reliever Chris Withrow is the next victim of Tommy John surgery.

Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are among the NL All-Star voting leaders, if you care about that kind of stuff.

– The Pirates are restricting media access to Gregory Polanco in Triple-A.

[divider type=””]

Opponent Blogs

True Blue LA | Dodgers Digest

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]” The Dodgers welcome the Pirates to town for a four-game series beginning Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, looking to continue their mastery over the Pittsburgh in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have won their last nine home games against the Pirates and have beaten Pittsburgh in 17 of their last 19 meetings at Dodger Stadium, dating back to 2008.” – True Blue LA[/quote_simple]

[divider type=””]

Player to Watch

Love him or hate him, Yasiel Puig is becoming one of the National League’s best talents – the 23-year-old Cuban-born right fielder can do it all. He’s hit .344/.442/.623 through 48 games played, ranking fourth in MLB in wins above replacement. How will Gerrit Cole react if Puig bat flips/celebrates like Carlos Gomez on Thursday night?

[divider type=””]

Prediction Time

Lots of Puig bat flips. More crappy pitching. Dodgers take three of four.

Go Bucs

Game #69: Pirates 6, Dodgers 3

The Pirates and Dodgers faced off in the rubber match on Sunday after splitting the first two games of the series. Here are some highlights from today’s game…

– Father’s Day got off to a rainy start, as the game was delayed until 3:00 pm. Gerrit Cole had to wait around a bit to make his second MLB start, but he started quickly and efficiently. He wasn’t overpowering, but still effective: 5.2 IP, 3 runs, 7 hits, 1 K, 0 BB. Cole heavily relied on his fastball again; it’d be nice to see him to start throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes. But he did his job today and picked up his second win in as many starts, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Josh Fogg in 2002.

Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez, and Alex Presley brought their bats to the yard today… Jones (2-for-3) put the Bucs on the board in the first with a two RBI double; Alvarez launched a three-run homer into the bushes in the fifth; Alex Presley smacked a solo shot off Matt Guerrier in the sixth.

Jordy Mercer, who made his fourth start in the past five days, went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He’s now hitting .400 (10-for-25) since June 4th and looks to be pulling ahead of Clint Barmes at shortstop.

– Overall, the Bucco offense got to Los Angeles starter/$147 million man Zack Greinke, who gave up five runs on eight hits over five innings.

Starling Marte entered the game as part of a double switch in the sixth inning, so it looks like he’s healthy and ready to go. Clint Hurdle had said that if Marte couldn’t play by today, then he could land on the disabled list.

– Shark Tank today: 3.1 IP, no runs, no hits. Justin Wilson relieved Cole, Mark Melancon pitched a perfect eighth, and Jason Grilli notched his 25th save in the ninth.

– Kudos to all the Pirates fans who made it down to PNC Park this weekend. All three games were sold out.

– All in all, nice series win against the Dodger$

pirates vs dodgers

– Four big games coming up in Cincinnati this week with Liriano, Morton, Locke, and Cumpton scheduled to start on the mound. Buckle up.

Pirates (41-28) – Dodgers (29-39)

Win: Cole (2-0)
Loss: Greinke (3-2)
Save: Grilli (25)

BOX SCORE

carlton-banks

Go Bucs

Game #68: Dodgers 5, Pirates 3

Tough loss at the park on Saturday afternoon.  The Bucs had a chance to win a game started by Clayton Kershaw, but couldn’t quite pull it out.

The Pirates got a run off of Kershaw in the first, thanks to an errant throw by Hanley Ramirez.  After that, the lefty settled in.  He went the next six innings without giving up another run and striking out eight.  The offense couldn’t score off of him, but they worked some long at-bats to get Kershaw’s pitch count way up.  He was at 114 after seven innings, and exited the game.  Truthfully, knocking him out of the game after seven innings is somewhat of an accomplishment and if you can keep the game close up to then, you have a decent chance to come back against the LA bullpen, which has been atrocious.

Brandon Cumpton, making his major league debut, turned in an impressive start.  He struck out the first four batters he faced and held the Dodgers hitless through three innings.  His offense got him the lead in the first, and knowing that runs would be hard to come by against Kershaw, he was tasked with protecting that 1-0 lead.  Skip Schumaker eventually got to Cumpton in the fifth, bringing home the tying run with two outs.  In the sixth, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez figured him out, started off the inning with a double and single, respectively.  Andre Ethier followed with a single that scored Gonzalez from third and moved both runners up a base due to an error in LF by Alex Presley.  Cumpton was pulled in favor of Bryan Morris, who got through the inning, but not before another run was charged to Cumpton.

Morris and Justin Wilson pitched the next two innings, keeping the deficit at 3-1 until the bottom of the eighth.  The inning began with a single and walk, followed by back-to-back strikeouts looking.  That brought up Neil Walker, and the Dodgers made him bat right-handed by bringing in a lefty from the bullpen.  That move didn’t work them, as Walker lined a single into LF to cut the lead down to 3-2.  Tony Watson needed just seven pitches to get through the top of the ninth, and Kenley Jansen was brought in for the bottom half.  He struck pinch-hitter Garrett Jones out looking for the first out of the inning, but couldn’t do the same to Travis Snider.  After falling behind 1-2, Snider crushed a game-tying bomb in the seats, sending the game to extra innings.

Mark Melancon did his thing in the top of the tenth, but the Bucs couldn’t end the game in the bottom half.  After the first two batters were retired, Russell Martin walked.  Neil Walker doubled into the RF corner, and Yasiel Puig made a nice sliding stop to make sure the ball didn’t rattle around in the corner.  He gunned it home and the cutoff throw ended up being way up the line, but Martin was held at third anyway.  That ended up backfiring as Michel McKenry ended the inning two batters later by flying out and leaving the bases loaded.

Vin Mazzaro, not Jason Grilli, came in for the eleventh.  Not sure why Grilli wasn’t used, but Mazzaro sure didn’t held vindicate Clint Hurdle‘s decision.  He not only gave up the go-ahead run, but also gave up another to give the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.  There was a chance to come back against Brandon League in the bottom of the inning, but neither Cutch nor Gaby could come through with two men on.  Sanchez smoked a ball into LF that looked like it could tie the game, but it ended up being right at Schumaker, who made the catch for the final out.

Pirates (40-28) – Dodgers (29-38)

Win: Moylan (1-0)
Loss: Mazzaro (3-1)
Save: League (14)

BOX SCORE

Go Bucs