Dodgers Lineup:Puig 9 Punto 5 Gonzalez 3 Ramirez 6 M.Ellis 4 Ethier 8 A.J. Ellis 2 Hairston 7 Fife 1
The Dodgers split the ten-game home trip against the Padres, Braves, and D-backs. After winning two of three against San Diego, the Dodgers dropped the next two series and are sitting at 8 1/2 back in the N.L. West. After a huge brawl with Arizona, the suspensions and fines will be handed down on Friday. Pittsburgh has been playing well this season, and they are well over .500. 12 games over .500 in fact and 4 games back in the N.L. East with a ferocious St. Louis team in first place. The Dodgers have fared horribly against their western counterparts, so perhaps a change of coast will do them some good.
Yasiel Puig will make his first road trip with the team since making his MLB debut. Puig sat out Wednesday’s game, but he did come in to collect a pinch-hit single in the twelfth inning of the loss. Puig will now have to experience different outfields in parks which he has never played at. Which also poses the question of who will be starting in left field? With Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke sidelined on the D.L., it will likely be Alex Castellanos or Jerry Hairston Jr. starting in left.
Stephen Fife will go to the mound in game one at PNC Park. Fife has filled in admirably in the rotation after Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly hit the D.L. He earned his first MLB win on June 3rd vs. the Cardinals when he pitched 5 1/3 innings while allowing 1 run on 5 hits to the first place team. Last time out against Atlanta, Fife kept the Dodgers in the game after allowing 2 runs on 9 hits with 7 strikeouts and just one walk over 6 2/3 innings. This will be Fife’s first career start against the Bucs.
The left-hander Jeff Locke will go to the mound for Pittsburgh instead of ace A.J. Burnett who was placed on the
D.L. with right calf strain. Locke has pitched well this season so far, and he has only lost one game while winning 5. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in any start. Last time out in Chicago, Locke pitched 5 2/3 innings while allowing 1 run on 1 hit with 6 strikeouts and 7 walks in the no-decision. Maybe the Dodgers will be able to work some walks in against him on Friday. Locke is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA against the Dodgers in 11 innings pitched against them.
Expected returns of A.J. Ellis and Hanley Ramirez to the lineup are on track for Friday. Ramirez has missed almost a month due to a hamstring strain. A.J. Ellis has been putting in rehab work with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in order to come back from a strained oblique. Once A.J. is activated, the Dodgers will have to option someone back to AAA which most likely will be Tim Federowicz. I think that this inevitable move is ridiculous since keeping Ramon Hernandez around as a place holder is stunting the development of FedEx in the Majors by shuffling him back and forth. The Dodgers did the same thing to A.J. before they finally gave him the starting job.
The 4:05 p.m. game will air on Prime Ticket. Join us after the conclusion of the game for our postgame thread. Go Blue!