The Dodgers are returning home for a quick three-game home stand against the Pittsburgh Pirates and there are significant milestones to be crossed, returns from the IL to be made, and pitching duels to be fought.
We will unpack what should be a fun-filled series at the Ravine with the Dodgers matching up against one of the early season surprises around Major League Baseball.
Home Game Homers
In the final game of the Dodgers’ last home stand, the club tied a pretty crazy record. AJ Pollock’s home run on that day forced a tie with the 1999 Colorado Rockies for the most consecutive home games with a home run: 32.
The Dodgers will aim to extend the streak and claim the record as their own in the first game of the series. With the powerful lineup they possess, it would certainly be a surprise to not watch them maintain the streak!
Bellinger’s Bat Poised to Break Records
Cody Bellinger has had a historic start to the season, something you have probably heard about a million times now. But, it’s so true. This series, Belli has the chance to break two records, one an MLB record and one a franchise record.
CodyLove currently has 84 total bases in March/April which is one short of the all-time record of 85 for those months, set by 2000 Jermaine Dye and 2008 Chase Utley. He will almost certainly get there this series. Two base hits or a double will do. Good luck to Belli.
Secondly, he has the chance to shatter a Dodgers record for hits in March/April. The current record was set by 2008 Rafael Furcal with 43 hits. Bellinger has 40. 4 hits is not out of the question for sure, but is a bit harder to obtain than a singular total base. Again, good luck to Cody.
This three-game home stand presents three marquee pitching matchups, especially when looking at the six starters poised to toe the rubber.
In the opening game, Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 3.10 ERA) will face former Tampa Bay Rays ace, Chris Archer (1-1, 2.74 ERA). In the middle matchup, budding youngster Joe Musgrove (1-1, 1.59 ERA) against the man, Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 2.77 ERA). And in the final game of the series and the home stand, Rich Hill (season debut) will make his return from a left knee injury to face Trevor Williams (1-1, 2.59 ERA). Those are some gaudy ERAs!
The Return of D. Mountain
Just a few nights ago, Rich Hill threw six innings in extended spring training and struck out 16 (!) batters. You read that correctly! He looked fantastic in Spring Training and got his velocity up to 92mph in his rehab outings. In what is the final year of his contract with the Dodgers, Hill will look to continue his defying off the odds against his age.
Fun fact: The last time Rich Hill and Trevor Williams took the hill against each other on August 23, 2017, Hill held a perfect game into the ninth inning and a no-hitter into the tenth inning, but it was all ended by Josh Harrison with a solo homer to give the Pirates a 1-0 victory.
A reminder that we get two of our "every day" players back this weekend! https://t.co/uBg63yqbxw
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) April 25, 2019
Mr. Freeze Returns
Dodgers first baseman David Freese will face his former Pittsburgh mates during the upcoming series. The Dodgers shipped infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez to the Pirates in exchange for Freese’s services last season. Freese played 365 games with the Pirates across parts of 3 seasons, enjoying a .270/.355/.403 slash line there.
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-news-a-j-pollocks-offensive-struggles-and-action-plan-detailed/2019/04/26/” type=”big” color=”red”] Dodgers News: A.J. Pollock’s Offensive Struggles and Action Plan Detailed[/button]