The old saying goes – and I don’t know who came up with it – nothing is real in baseball until Memorial Day. Well, we have about reached that point for the Dodgers and our 2019 season. Furthermore, the Dodgers will prepare for Memorial Day by spending the weekend in the Midwest, Pittsburgh to be exact.
Indeed, they draw a date with the 25-22 Pittsburgh Pirates; a team with a 10-11 record in their home park. Still, it’s important to note that the Dodgers swept a 3-game weekend series with Pittsburgh at Dodger Stadium at the end of April.
Now, with the Dodgers sitting at 32-18; they finish their season slate with the central division Pirates. Let’s look at what to expect in this series.
Friday: Walker Buehler vs. Undecided
Saturday: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Joe Musgrove
Sunday: Kenta Maeda vs. Chris Archer
Recently, we have focused multiple times on the dominance of Dodgers’ starting pitching. Furthermore, that stretch has continued with Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill holding serve in Tampa. Now, they will hand the baton to the likes of Buehler, Ryu, and Maeda at PNC Park.
Opposing them will be an undecided starter, followed by Musgove and Archer. Remember, Maeda’s start marks his return from the injured list. This will be his first start since his dominant performance when he shutout the Padres 2-0.
Finally, everyone following the Dodgers is well aware of Ryu’s current dealings. Currently Ryu has a streak of 31-consecutive scoreless innings, which puts him in team history books. He will look to continue that streak Saturday in what will certainly be appointment viewing.
Players to Watch
I want to highlight the headline photo player, Josh Bell. If you want to put into perspective what Bell is doing, it’s kind of similar to the Pittsburgh version of 2019 Cody Bellinger. Truly, Bell is hitting .339 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI. Without question, he should be a teammate of Bellinger’s when the All-Star teams are announced in July.
The Pirates are also getting good baseball out of Gregory Polanco and Brian Reynolds. Each player is hitting over .300 in limited outfield duty thus far this year.
By comparison – the Dodgers have two players in their own outfield I need to tell you little about in Bellinger and Alex Verdugo. Notably though, Friday will mark the first time Bellinger has started without hitting .400 in a while (currently .394). If Bellinger is to continue his pursuit of .400, he will need some knocks at PNC Park. Meanwhile, Verdugo is hitting .311 with a .361 on-base percentage so far this season.
With the Dodgers moving Kershaw Day to Memorial Day on Monday, the hope would be to take two of three in Pittsburgh after a split in Tampa. That would give Los Angeles a winning road trip. If you have felt like the Dodgers have had their fair share of off days recently – you’re rightful! You will be happy to hear the Dodgers’ next off-day doesn’t come until June 6.
Finally, the Dodgers hold a six game lead over the Padres in the division. The Pirates should pose as a good road test, and they’re over .500. You know they’re looking for revenge after being swept at Chavez Ravine. Tune in for the storylines that are sure to develop this weekend, and get your grill ready!