The Dodgers try to win their first series in two weeks and inch closer to .500 against the Pirates today. Hiroki Kuroda, who has been the best Dodger starter so far this season, makes his fifth start. He is one out shy of having four quality starts in his first four outings, although the start against Cincinnati would have been a stretch to label "quality," as Kuroda allowed six runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
Jeff Karstens gets the start for the Pirates, who were none too happy with two pitches thrown in up and in to Andrew McCutchen. I can't help but think back to Chad Billingsley in the 2008 NLCS when reading Dejan Kovacevic's game story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Reliever Jack Taschner, with the Pirates' first pitch after Duke was done, flung a fastball behind Los Angeles' Andre Ethier to open the seventh, and that appeared to settle things.
But it was clear from the palpably angry mood afterward in the visitor's clubhouse that more was expected early, even if few wished to speak to it on the record.
I doubt anything will happen today as a result of last night's extra curricular activity, but in the absence of Vicente Padilla, there is nobody better for the Dodgers to have on the mound today, just in case. Just ask Shane Victorino.
Keeping Pace With Iron Mike
Ramon Troncoso appeared in his 16th game of the season last night, tying him with Mike Marshall for the most games pitched in the first 24 games of the season by an LA Dodger. However, Troncoso has pitched 14 total innings, compared to the 27 pitched by Marshall in 1974, on his way to a record 106 appearances and 208 1/3 innings in relief.
Jim Alexander of the Press Enterprise gives his opinion on the Ned Colletti / Matt Kemp controversy, and in the process pretty much nails the description of the Los Angeles sports media
With few exceptions, those of us who remain in a shrinking media pool are laughably tame. Criticism is muted, or else is part of somebody's shtick and not taken seriously.
From the Dodger game notes:
According to John Labombarda at Elias, Ethier’s .432 average, five homers and 14 RBI at home makes him the most prolific Dodger in the Triple Crown categories through nine contests at home since baseball began keeping track of the RBI in 1920. The closest to Ethier was Dom Demeter, who had five homers, 14 RBIs and a .382 batting average in his first nine home games during the 1959 season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Dodger bullpen has allowed six earned runs over 30 1/3 innings for a 1.78 ERA in their last nine games.
Here are the lineups, which include a Pirate pitcher batting ninth for the first time all season:
Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.
Game Time: 1:10pm
TV: Prime Ticket