May 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) and third baseman Juan Uribe (5) in the dugout before the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers Look to Fend Off Pirates and Avoid Fourth Consecutive Loss

What happened to the Dodgers who utterly dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium last season? The Dodgers are half way through a four-game series, and they have yet to win one of the games against the Bucs. Friday night the offense was stagnant even after the bullpen threw four scoreless innings in relief. It seems like when the Dodgers are able to score, the bullpen implodes. When the Dodgers aren’t able to muster any runs off rookie pitchers and veterans alike, the bullpen comes in and doesn’t allow any runs. The consistency of this team’s inconsistencies is astounding.

The Dodgers are still looking to capture their 30th win of the 2014 season. San Francisco is long past 30 wins, and they keep on winning. The Dodgers have not been able to string more than 3 wins together this season, and they are on the verge of losing a season-high fourth consecutive game should they fall to the Bucs on Saturday afternoon in game 3.

Hyun-jin Ryu (5-2, 3.10) vs. Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 3.38)

Lineup:

Gordon 2B
Ethier CF
Puig RF
Hanley SS
Gonzalez 1B
Kemp LF
Turner 3B
Butera C
Ryu P

Josh Beckett was fine during his first start since he threw his memorable no-hitter on the 25th. He only allowed two runs, one of which was a solo homerun to Ike Davis. This was a good Beckett start, and the Dodgers wasted it by choking with the runners in scoring position, a theme weaved through this disappointing season up to this point. Even Vin Scully pointed out that Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez aren’t producing right now out of the middle of the lineup. There may be hope on the horizon after Hanley Ramirez’s bat looked more alive on Friday when he collected two hits including a RBI base hit. Hanley will start hitting, but will the Dodgers lineup ever fire on all cylinders as a cohesive unit?

Hyun-jin Ryu was perfect through 7 innings in his last start against Cincinnati which saw Todd Frazier break up his perfecto bid in the eighth

Brandon Cumpton will make his second career start against the Dodgers on Saturday. Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

when he led off with a double. Ryu has won his last two games, and he has only allowed one walk in his last 3 starts. Ryu has only faced the Pirates one time before, and in that one start he took away the win while allowing 2 runs on 3 hits over 6 1/3 innings of work at Dodger Stadium. Of the few at-bats the Bucs have against Ryu, Starling Marte has 2 hits against him and Andrew McCutchen has 1.

Brandon Cumpton made his MLB debut against the Dodgers last year on June 15th and allowed 3 earned runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk in 5 innings. Saturday will be his 9th Major League start, and his fourth start of this season for Pittsburgh. The right-hander is still looking for his first win of the season. Last time out against the Mets, Cumpton pitched 6 innings and allowed 1 earned run on 7 hits. Most of the Dodgers haven’t faced Cumpton before, but Andre Ethier does have 2 hits against him, and Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Yasiel Puig have one hit each against Brandon.

Prediction: Hanley Ramirez has another multi-hit night.

Can the Dodgers wrap up the month of May with a win? The Giants are relentless, and the Dodgers can’t seem to fine their groove this season. Drama, injuries, disappointments, defensive blunders, bullpen meltdowns, position changes, contract distractions, and all the bunting has really put a damper on the Dodgers’ chances of defending their NL West crown. Momentum needs to be sparked. Perhaps the Dodgers need to recapture that sparkle they had when Yasiel Puig joined the team at this time last year.                                                           

The game begins at 4:15 p.m. PT, and be sure to swing back here for our postgame coverage.

Go Blue!

Tags: Brandon Cumpton Hyun-jin Ryu Los Angeles Dodgers

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