The good news for the Dodgers as they open their series with the Pirates is that they can't lose this series two games to one, as they have in each of their last four series. That is because they are in Pittsburgh for four straight night games, beginning tonight with Chad Billingsley facing Jeff Karstens.
Billingsley has made four starts in his career against the Pirates and is 3-0 despite a mediocre 4.71 ERA. He didn't start against Pittsburgh in 2009, but last season he beat them twice, allowing three total runs in 11 1/3 innings. The two current Pirates Billingsley has faced most are their two catchers: Chris Snyder is 3-for-22 with two solo home runs off Billingsley, while Ryan Doumit is 5-for-9 with a double.
Karstens started out the season in the bullpen, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings over three appearances. Then he joined the rotation, and has made four starts, allowing 15 runs (12 earned) in 21 innings, and giving up five home runs. The two Dodger position players with more than four PA against Karstens are Andre Ethier (3-for-8 with a home run) and James Loney (2-for-6 with a double and a walk).
Loney Closing In On Dubious Distinction
Loney on some level has been improving, but then again he had nowhere to go but up after his horrid start. Loney over his last 11 games, including nine starts, is hitting .382/.436/.382, but he also has driven in just one run during that span, having batted with 12 runners in scoring position. Loney's slugging percentage is the same as his batting average during that span as well.
Since his home run in Colorado on April 6, Loney has not had an extra-base hit in 116 plate appearances. Loney in his last 26 starts at first base has no extra-base hits, the second-longest streak by a Dodger first baseman since 1919.
|Most Consecutive Starts At 1B By A Dodger With No Extra-Base Hits, 1919-Present
Since 2000, the only Dodgers at any position with a streak of starts that long with no extra-base hits are Brent Mayne (32 games in 2004) and Ryan Theriot (26 games last season). In 52 career plate appearances over 14 games (10 starts) at PNC Park in his career, Loney has no extra-base hits, hitting .229/.269/.229.
- The Pirates lead the National League with 26 runs in the first inning through their first 34 games. The Dodgers are tied for second in the NL allowing just nine first-inning runs.
- Jamey Carroll was 7-for-12 in the weekend series in New York, with two walks and a double. Carroll had three hits in each of the last two games, joining Matt Kemp as the only two Dodgers to do that this season. Kemp had three hits in back-to-back games in San Diego on April 8-9.
- The Dodgers infield, including catcher, is hitting a collective .242/.302/.342 this season, the worst OPS and adjusted OPS+ (83) in the National League. But at least they aren't the Twins, whose infield has hit .199/.254/.295 this season, by far the worst in the majors
- In the first eight years of PNC Park, the Dodgers didn't lost a series with the Pirates and were 23-7 in Pittsburgh. However, they have lost series in Steel City in each of the last two seasons, losing five of seven games.
- Since being claimed from the Dodgers by the Pittsburgh, Xavier Paul has played in all 10 games, starting four, and is 6-for-20 with a triple, hitting .300/.364/.400 for the Pirates
- A few links from the weekend: Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness broke down Loney's struggles in great detail, and Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts captured the feelings of every Dodger fan everywhere who watched Clayton Kershaw awkwardly lumber into second base on Sunday.
Game Time: 4:05 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket