Dodgers Lineup vs. PiratesVictorino 7 M.Ellis 4 Kemp 8 Ethier 9 Ramirez 6 Loney 3 Kennedy 5 Ellis 2 Harang 1
Tonight, the Boys in Blue begin a most important series. Tonight they will begin a crucial four game set at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The last time these two teams met was the first week of the season at Dodger Stadium where the Dodgers swept them. Much has changed since then. The Pirates are one of the top teams in the National League, and currently hold the second wild card spot. The Dodgers are trailing by 2.5 games.
This series won’t be easy for the Dodgers. The Bucs are 36-20 at home, and have a 64-50 record, which puts them second place in the NL Central, where they currently trail the Reds by 4.5 games. This will be a good chance for the Dodgers to gain some ground and try to at least be comfortably within grasp of a playoff spot despite being closer to first place in the NL West.
The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992, as that was the last time they made the playoffs. How are they doing it? A top ranked pitching staff, and a powerful lineup, led by the NL’s leading hitter Andrew McCutchen (.362). The Pirates have hit 130 home runs, and are ranked seventh in pitching. As a comparison, the Dodgers have only hit 69 home runs.
The Dodgers will give the ball to righty big show Aaron Harang. The big guy, is 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA, and has been mostly decent this season for the Dodgers. Last time out he lost against Colorado at home, but pitched much better than the final decision shows. Harang had allowed just three runs in six frames, but it wasn’t enough to win. Against the Bucs, Harang is 14-6 with a 4.28 ERA, and 134 whiffs. The Bucs have not hit him particularly well. The Buccos are hitting .262 (17 for 65) collectively off of Harang. Bug bad Andrew McCutchen has been anything but against Harang. He is only 2 for 9 (.222) with no home runs. Former Dodger Big Rod, also known as Rod Barajas is 0 for 2. Slugger Garrett Jones is 3 for 7 with a home runs and two RBIs. The only other Buc Harang might have to worry about is Clint Barmes, the former Rockie. Barmes is hitting .444 off of Harang, to the tune of a .444/.583/.889 slash line with the second home run against Harang. Overall Harang has walked too many batters (59) (4.1 walk per nine rate), but has whiffed 100 batters (6.9 whiff per nine rate) so he can miss bats. On the road Harang is 5-3 with a 3.74 ERA.
The Bucs will counter with righty Jeff Karstens. He has won four decisions in a row since being moved to the rotation form the Bullpen. In 62 innings and 11 starts, Karstens is 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA. Against the Dodgers he has not fared well. An 0-3 record, and a 5,25 ERA can attest to that. That just scratches the surface though, because check out these numbers. The Dodgers are hitting .293 (29 for 99). Andre Ethier has the lone home run, and is hitting .308 (4 for 13) with four RBI off of Karstens. Matt Kemp is 2 for 9. James Loney is 4 for 12. Karstens can be tough at home though, he has a 2-0 record, and a 1.33 ERA at PNC Park.
Make sure you check out rumbunter.com for everything Pirate related. Tonight’s first pitch is at 4:10PM, and televised on Prime Ticket. Don’t miss out as I am sure it will be a battle. Check back with us after the game for our postgame Dodger recap. Let’s make those Bucs walk the plank! Go Blue.