Dodgers Aim to Remain On Top in NL West With Four-Game Sweep


Joe Blanton (8-10, 4.61) vs. A.J. Burnett (14-4, 3.32)


Victorino LF

Mark Ellis 2B

Kemp CF

Ethier RF

Ramirez SS

Loney 1B

Kennedy 3B

A.J. Ellis C

Blanton P

The Dodgers have been playing unusually well on the road of late. They are 5-1 so far on this road trip, and they have a four-game sweep of the Bucs in their sight. In fact, with a win today they could extend their winning streak against the Pirates to ten games in a row. So far this month, the Dodgers are 9-4. After the conclusion of today’s game, the Dodgers will travel down to Atlanta for a three-game set versus the Braves before returning home to face the Giants. With the Giants reeling from the disgraceful news that their number one hitter Melky Cabrera tested positive for a banned substance and will be suspended for 50 games, now is the perfect time for the Dodgers to make their move in order to claim their rightful spot at the top of the NL West.

Joe Blanton is still vying for his first Dodger win. Last time out against Miami, his meltdown lead to the Dodgers only loss on this current road trip. He pitched 5 innings in Miami, allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits. In his career against Pittsburgh, Joe has a 2-1 record with a 3.15 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings pitched. Andrew McCutchen has only hit .111 against the right-hander, and Garrett Jones hasn’t fared well except for one homerun against him.

The Bucs will try to salvage one game out of this season series with the Dodgers, and

they will have their best chance today with their ace on the hill. A.J. Burnett is a 14-game winner, but last time out he lost his first home start of the season against the Padres. Even though he lost, he still managed to whiff 10 Padres. Juan Rivera has hit him well, and Shane Victorino is hitting .400 against the righty as well.

It’s a bit surprising to me how dominate the Dodgers have been versus the Bucs. Even though the Pirates have put together their best season to date in many years, the Dodgers are one win away from sweeping the season series. With a win today, it could also be the Dodgers’ 10th consecutive victory against Pittsburgh and their twelfth out of thirteen. One of the reasons the Dodgers have been successful against the rum drinkers is pitching. Both great pitching from the Dodgers and poor pitching from the Pirates. The Dodger offense has pounced on the Pirate arms, and in return the Dodger starters and relievers have squelched the league-leading hitter Andrew McCutchen the best that they can.

Today will be a bit more of a challenge for the Dodger lineup as they go against A.J. Burnett who is looking for his 15th win of the season. The Dodger offense has exploded in this series, and they have scored 25 runs so far in this series. Shane Victorino also has a nine-game hitting streak, and Matt Kemp is just obliterating left-handed pitching.

The game will be televised on Prime Ticket at 1:05 pm. Be sure to check back here for all the postgame highlights.