The Dodgers are coming off of a road trip where they took four out of seven games, despite almost being swept by Chicago. They will head home for three games before going back out on the road for six road games in California. The Dodgers are 16-11 and have won 7 of their last 10 games. Pittsburgh is 12-11 and has struggled over their past 10 games, losing 5.
Friday– Hyun-jin Ryu vs. Chris Archer
Saturday– Clayton Kershaw vs. Joe Musgrove
Sunday– Rich Hill vs. Trevor Williams
Hyun-jin Ryu is making his second appearance after a groin strain that took him out of his start on April 8th. He last pitched on Saturday and tossed 5.2 innings against Milwaukee, surrendering two runs on six hits. Ryu gets to face Chris Archer, one of Pittsburgh’s best starters. In fact, all three Pirates pitchers the Dodgers will be facing have been very good.
Clayton Kershaw is making this third start of the season, and he has been a much different pitcher in 2019. Kershaw is mixing pitches with the same frequency as last year, but with far different results. He has one of the lowest hard hit percentages in the league, and his chase percentage is way up from last year. He’s done a great job at painting corners, changing eye levels on pitches, and mixing in his slider when it’s on. He will face off against Joe Musgrove, who has pitched to a 1.59 ERA thus far.
The Dodgers will get back one of their starters this weekend against a struggling Pittsburgh team, bringing the staff to full health. Rich Hill will make his season debut in Sunday after a ridiculous rehab outing in Arizona. Hill struck out 16 hitters at extended Spring camp for his final tuneup. He will face off against Trevor Williams, another one of Pittsburgh’s best starters this year.
Matchups To Watch
Pittsburgh vs. Left-handed Pitching
Pittsburgh has been one of the worst teams in all of baseball against left-handed pitching in 2019. They are hitting a combined 219 against southpaws, with Major League lows in on-base percentage as well as slug percentage and OPS. With three lefties scheduled to go this weekend, Pittsburgh could have their hands full.
Cole Tucker vs. Dodgers’ Catchers
The Pirates’ number 5 prospect was forced into action just a week ago due to injuries and has hit well since making his debut. He is hitting 286 with a home run, but his success in the minor leagues tell you what kind of hitter he can be. Tucker slashed 333/415/579 before getting his call-up and went deep 3 times in 13 games. He also stole 82 bases from 2017 to 2018 in the minors, so watch out for him on the basepaths.
Cody Bellinger vs. Literally Anyone
There is just no stopping the hottest hitter in baseball. Nearly a full month into the season and Cody Bellinger is still hitting a ridiculous 426. His outrageous OPS+ of 262 is not a sustainable pace for him, but you have to love what you are seeing early on from the kid. He has cut down his strikeout rate and is hitting the ball harder than 97% of the league, and is getting on base at an outrageous rate. Bellinger literally is reaching base in half of his at-bats thus far and seems to be hitting home runs in the biggest situations. He’s truly something special.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) April 25, 2019
Oh yeah, and he also could potentially break the record for bases in a month set by Chase Utley. He is just one base away from tying that record, with five games left in the month.
The Dodgers had a rough series in Chicago, but I fully expect them to take advantage of a hobbled Pittsburgh team. The Dodgers’ weak spot so far has been pitching, but the Pirates rank almost dead last in runs scored, and they’re not much better in team batting average. I expect the Dodgers’ offense to carry them through this series, even against good pitching.
[button link=”http://dodgersnation.com/the-dodgers-will-keep-starting-chris-taylor-even-through-his-struggles/2019/04/25/” type=”big” color=”red”] THE DODGERS WILL KEEP STARTING CHRIS TAYLOR, EVEN THROUGH HIS STRUGGLES[/button]