Dodgers Look to Unearth Buried Treasure At PNC Park:A Series Win
By Scott Andes
Dodgers Lineup vs. PiratesVictorino 7M.Ellis 4Kemp 8Ramirez 6Ethier 9Rivera 3Cruz 5Ellis 2Kershaw 1
Clayton Kershaw-10-6 vs. Wandy Rodriguez-7-11
The Dodgers are on a roll, and I don’t mean a dinner roll. Have the Dodgers finally hit their stride? Perhaps they are just beginning to gel. The Dodgers have won three in a row, four of the first five on this trip, and the first two of this four game series against the Pirates in Steel town.
*Only minutes ago, after I had my pregame all written up, we learned that Giant’s all-star outfielder, and this year’s all-star game MVP Melky Cabrera has tested positive for steroids. Specifically testosterone. Melky has already apologized to his teammates, and fans, but will begin serving his suspension immediately. The penalty is a 50 game suspension, which means Cabrera will be out for the rest of the season, since there is only about 45 games remaining. If the Giants do make the playoffs, he won’t be eligible to play until the second round NLCS, if the Giants make it that far. Of course when a guy is a career .284 hitter, and then all of a sudden is hitting .346 in August, something has to be up. This is a huge loss for the Giants, as Cabrera was their best hitter, and second in the league in batting. According to the guys over at Around the foghorn, Gregor Blanco will take his spot in the outfield. This changes the NL West race considerably. How will the Giants respond after losing their best hitter? We’ll have more on this development later.*
Last night the Dodgers Cruz’d to an easy win, with an 11-0 drubbing of the Bucs in front of the home crowd at PNC Park. Chad Billingsley was masterful in winning his fifth straight game. Unfortunately the annoying Giants won again, and the two teams remain in a virtual deadlock for first place. Both teams have identical 64-53 records.
Today the Dodgers will look for a series win, and they are giving the ball to just the right man for the job. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Boys In Blue looking for his eleventh win of the season. He’ll have to beat a tough competitor though, and a pitcher the Dodgers have had trouble hitting, as two strong lefties square off in game three of this four game series.
The reigning Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers, looking to keep his momentum going. Kershaw isn’t having a Cy young type season, but he is having a very good season. Overall he is 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA, and 157 whiffs, and 42 walks. Kershaw is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 1.21 ERA. However Kershaw has never beaten the Bucs in his career. Kershaw is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA against the Pirates. These current groups of Pirates have only hit collectively .233 (14 for 60) with three home runs against Kershaw. Clayton will have to watch out for Andrew McCutchen, who is hitting .364 (4 for 11) off of Kershaw. Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez, and Clint Barmes have all hit home runs off Kershaw in the past. We all saw how dominant Kershaw was against the Marlins last time out, and we hope he can continue his dominance.
The Bucs will counter with Lefty Wandy Rodriguez. The 33 year old veteran was acquired from Houston in trade, but has not pitched all that well for the Bucs since coming over. Overall he is 7-11 with a 3.91 ERA. For the Bucs he has yet to win a game yet despite pitching two quality starts in the three games he has pitched for Pittsburgh. Although the 4.74 ERA, he still has pitched in at least six innings in all three of his starts. He has notoriously been tough on the Dodgers, posting a 5-4 record, a 2.21 ERA, and 54 whiffs. (he pitched seven shutout innings against us ealrier in the season in Houston, if you remember)
The Dodgers are only hitting .223 (35 for 157) off of him, with four home runs. Matt Kemp is hitting .238 (6 for 28) with two doubles, a home run, and four RBI. Andre Ethier is only hitting .150 (3 for 20). Shane Victorino is .286 (4 for 14) with a double. The Dodgers that has hit Rodriguez the best is Hanley Ramirez. He is batting .409 (9 for 22) with a doubles, two triples, a home run, and an RBI. Home runs have been hit by Kemp, Ramirez, Juan Rivera, and lord help us all, Juan Uribe.
The game will be televised on KCAL today, and game time is at 4PM. The Giants will be home playing Washington, as Steven Strasburg makes perhaps one of his final starts, (his pitch limit is up. yes Washington is really going through with their ridiculous innings limit, but at least he can screw it to the Giants before hanging up his spikes for the year) against Tim Lincecum, who has been lackluster this year. Check in here after the game for another comprehensive game recap, as we continue to document the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Seasons. No matter what happens, we’ll always be here. Win or lose, rain or shine. Go Blue.