Dodgers Look to Avoid Sweep in Pittsburgh


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After two extremely strange baseball games, the Dodgers (62-48) head into Sunday’s contest looking to avoid being swept for the third time this season.

The first two times came against the Giants, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (64-44) have a chance to hand the Dodgers their fifth three-game losing streak of the season. The Dodgers hope Alex Wood can fare better in his second start with the team than Mat Latos did on Saturday.

Wood was pretty good in his first start on Monday through the first six innings. He ran into trouble in the seventh and left the bases loaded, which ended up in the scorebook as four earned runs against the Phillies. Wood has only started a game at PNC once in his career, and he allowed five hits in seven 1/3 shutout innings.

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Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen are the only current Pirates with more than one hit in their career against Wood, and Michael Morse is the only Pirate to ever take him deep. He’s only faced the Pirates twice in his career so it’s obviously a small sample, but his funky deceptive delivery could play well tonight.

The Pirates will counter with Charlie Morton, who is arguably their worst starter. In 13 starts this year, Morton has a 7-4 record and identical 4.19 ERA and FIP. He doesn’t strike out many batters (only 5.6 ks/9) and has led the NL in hit batsmen for the last two seasons. The Pirates didn’t seem super happy when Marte was hit on Saturday, the second time he was hit in the first two games. Hopefully the Dodgers pack their elbow guards.

Despite starting in 97 games over the last five seasons, Morton hasn’t faced the Dodgers since April 2010. Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick are both hitless in six career plate appearances against Morton, but Jimmy Rollins has given Morton a headache in the past. J-Roll is 7-11 with a walk and two doubles in his career against the 31-year old righty, and he’s never struck Rollins out.

Rollins got another hit on Saturday, giving him hits in three straight games and in nine of his last 14 games. His batting average has raised almost .20 points since that point, and has hits in seven of his last eight games hitting leadoff.

For the third straight series finale, Yasiel Puig is out of the lineup for the Dodgers. He came in at the end of the game in the finale’s against the Phillies and Angels.

Alberto Callaspo gets his 22nd start at third base for the Dodgers, which is something preseason Alex would have probably said sarcastically. Justin Turner is still on the DL and it sounds like he may be back towards the end of the Nationals series.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PST and the game will only be shown on ESPN (no blackouts). So prepare for the annoying strike zone and John Kruk/Curt Schilling. This is also the final game of a six-game roadtrip, and the Dodgers return home for the Nationals on Monday. The Dodgers are 2-3 on their current roadtrip, winning two of three against the Phillies and hoping to avoid a sweep at the hands of a potential playoff foe.