Dodgers Pirates Game Two Preview
By Alex Campos
After another game we’re just gonna agree not to talk about, the Dodgers (62-47) will send Mat Latos to the hill in game two against the Pirates (63-44) and Francisco Liriano.
I guess we’ll talk about it a little bit. Can someone please tell Donnie that you’re allowed to pull a pitcher in between innings? I don’t get the point of sending out a reliever for a second inning, only to pull them after they predictably get in trouble. He did it with Juan Nicasio in the eighth, and then Jim Johnson in the 10th. They both faced the minimum in their first inning, and the only baserunner that reached was off Johnson, and was immediately erased by a double play. Nicasio was pulled after a leadoff walk. Johnson gave up a walk, a single and a bunt single, and then was pulled. Let them get their three outs, and bring in the next guy. Just not Joel Peralta. Refer to Adrian’s chart:
But that was a Friday night problem, hopefully not a Saturday problem. The Dodgers will still have their own problems, as Liriano is still a pretty good pitcher and the Pirates are still a pretty good team.
Don’t be fooled by his 7-6 record, as Liriano has a sub-3.00 ERA and FIP. He currently owns the second lowest ERA and fifth lowest FIP of his 10-year career. His hits/9 is the lowest it’s been in his career, and his K/9 is the highest it’s been since 2006. He and Gerrit Cole aren’t exactly Clayton Kershaw/Zack Greinke, but they’re one of the better 1-2 punches in the league.
Since seven of his 10 seasons have been in the AL, he’s only had three career starts against the Dodgers, but he’s been pretty dominant in that small sample. He’s 3-0 and has allowed exactly three runs in 19 2/3 innings against the Dodgers, and he threw seven innings of one-run ball his last time out against the Dodgers last July.
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Current Dodgers have had a little success against Liriano in the past. Alberto Callaspo has six hits in 21 at-bats and Howie Kendrick has eight hits in 17 at-bats, and each of them have hit a homer against him in the past. Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig also have hits against Liriano in their career, and Ethier has the only extra base hit of those four.
Latos gets his second start as a Dodger, and hopefully won’t be as nervous and jet-lagged this time out. He was pretty good against the Angels his first time out, giving up a run and four hits in six innings, but he threw 80 pitches and only had one strikeout. Latos has allowed 12 runs in six career starts at PNC, but only lasted five innings in his last start against the Pirates last July. Andrew McCutchen has six hits in his career against Latos, and three of them have left the yard. Pedro Alvarez has hit two homers against Latos in the past, and Neil Walker has hit one.
A.J. Ellis is catching Latos, as Yasmani Grandal gets the usual “early game after a night game” day off. He’s only hitting .215 on the season, but has a .324 OBP and had a modest six game hitting streak before missing time with an injury. This will be his first time catching Latos.
This also marks Jimmy Rollins‘ ninth consecutive start leading off. He’s gotten on base at least once in all eight games and has 12 hits in 35 at-bats.
With a lefty on the hill, Andre Ether and Joc Pederson are replaced in the lineup by Scott Van Slyke and Enrique Hernandez. In very small sample size, SVS is slashing .295/.467/.500 against lefties in 44 at-bats. Kiké is slashing .396/.455/.708 against southpaws in 48 at-bats.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PST. The game will be shown on Sportsnet LA and will be shown and not-blacked-out on Fox Sports 1.