The Dodgers are back home, but only briefly, hosting the Pirates for a three-game series beginning Monday night. Sunday’s rainout and the left shoulder tweak of Brandon McCarthy make the Dodgers’ rotation plans tentative at the moment, but here’s an overview of the potential pitching matchups this week at Dodger Stadium.
For the moment, I am assuming the Dodgers will skip McCarthy, which since he last pitched on Apr. 29 could also afford them the opportunity to also place him on the disabled list and gain an extra pitcher or position player for a few games.
Monday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Alex Wood is picking up where he left off last season. In 2016, a season in which he missed three months with elbow problems, Wood struck out 25.9% of batters and walked 7.9%. This year, he’s at 26.2% strikeouts — a career high — and 8.7% walks, and if you remove his two intentional passes his walk rate is down to 5.7%.
This would have been the spot for Jameson Taillon to start for Pittsburgh, but he was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday with groin discomfort. That left roster room to call up reliever and old friend Josh Lindblom, back in the majors for the first time since 2014.
Starting on Monday for the Pirates will be Trevor Williams, who has pitched six games and 11⅔ innings in relief this season for Pittsburgh. This will be his first start of the year.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)
In his two starts this season, Julio Urias has eight walks yet has allowed only one run. Only four Dodgers with at least 10 starts in a season have ever had at least 1.5 times as many walks as runs allowed. The only one in the last 70 years to do so was Clayton Kershaw, with 91 walks and 55 runs allowed in 2009, his age-21 season.
Ivan Nova since joining the Pirates last season at the trade deadline has four walks in 17 starts, to go with 79 strikeouts in 106⅔ innings, and a stellar 2.70 ERA.
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)
Kenta Maeda has something to build on after two start solid starts, striking out eight in each game. He had 19 total strikeouts in his first four starts, a 22.4% rate, and a 33.3% strikeout rate in his last two outings.
Chad Kuhl beat the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw in his major league debut last June 26 in Pittsburgh. So far this season, Kuhl has been beaten around a little bit, with opposing batters hitting .288/.373/.442, contributing to his 5.52 ERA in six starts.