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Dodgers Open Homestand With Pirates

Matt Kemp has four home runs in six home games this season
Matt Kemp has four home runs in six home games this season

The Dodgers may have lost seven straight series on the road, but tonight they return home, to a place they have won five straight series.  They open a four game series with the Pirates as the start of a 10-game homestand, the Dodgers' second longest of the season.  In fact, the Dodgers play 30 of their next 42 games at Dodger Stadium.  You have to love a homestand in which Clayton Kershaw will likely make three starts.

If you think the Dodgers, losers of 16 of their last 21 away from home, have problems on the road, just wait until the Pirates come to town.  Pittsburgh has lost 44 of its last 56 road games, and over their last 81 road games they are 21-60.

Clayton Kershaw has faced the Pirates three times in his career, and has given up one, then two, then three runs in those starts.  A cynic might expect Kershaw to continue that progression and allow four runs tonight, but Kershaw has allowed that many runs in a home start just once, on June 20, 2008.  Kershaw walked a career-high six Pirates in the second game of the season, but two of those were to Ross Ohlendorf, who won't be pitching tonight.

Brian Burres gets the start for Pittsburgh tonight, making a spot start in place of Chris Jakubauskas, who was hit in the head by a line drive Saturday.  Burres has a 6.19 ERA, 1.697 WHIP, and 5.02 FIP in 274 2/3 career innings.  The Pirates have made a habit of bucking trends this season.  Heading into the opening series, the Dodgers had won 24 out of 34 at PNC Park, but the Pirates won two of three.  In their last series, the Pirates ended a 22-game losing streak in Milwaukee by beating the Brewers in the final two games of the series.

Kershaw threw 109 pitches on the road trip, only three more than Ramon Troncoso:

Bullpen During Road Trip
Reliever Games Batters Pitches
Troncoso 6 27 106
Monasterios    3 22 86
Ra.Ortiz 3 22 82
Belisario 4 20 57
Sherrill 5 16 64
Link 3 13 51
Broxton 1 6 30
Kuo 2 6 18
Weaver 1 1 2

Other Notes

  • The 111 runs scored through 21 games by the Dodgers is their ninth most since moving to Los Angeles
  • The 125 runs allowed through 21 games by the Dodgers is their second most since moving to Los Angeles, behind only the 129 runs allowed in 1958
  • Matt Kemp is working on a six-game home hitting streak, including four home runs
  • Old Friend Andy LaRoche missed a week with back spasms, but has come back with a vengeance, hitting .565/.583/.739 (13 for 23) in his last six games
  • The ceremonial first pitch docket is quite full tonight, with former Laker Michael Cooper (it's USC Night, and he's the current women's basketball coach), celebrity chef Kerry Simon, and George Maloof, owner of the Palms Casino Resort and the Sacramento Queens all throwing out "first" pitches tonight

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Game Time: 7:10pm

TV: Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday