LOS ANGELES — For the Dodgers to make an extended run to the top of the National League West, it would serve them well to win two series in a row, something they haven’t yet done in 2017. They have a chance to pull off that feat with the Pirates in town for three games beginning Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
As it stands, the Dodgers are 17-14, and only two games behind the Rockies in the National League West, with four games in Denver scheduled for later this week.
But as of yet, the Dodgers have not been more than three games above .500 all season. They weren’t more than two games above .500 before winning on Saturday.
So far the Dodgers’ series have gone like this:
Win (3-game sweep)
Win (2-game sweep)
The Dodgers have dropped each of the last three season series against the Pirates, losing 15 of 20 games to Pittsburgh since the start of the 2014 season. That includes just a 3-6 mark at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers owned the Pirates for quite a while.
From 2007-13, the Dodgers won all seven home series against the Pirates, winning 19 of 23 games during that span, including nine straight wins before dropping a series at Dodger Stadium in 2014. Pittsburgh has won two of three games in each of their last three trips to Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh comes to town with the inverse record of the Dodgers, at 14-17. Offense has been the main culprit, with just 12 runs in their last five games, including four games of exactly two runs in that span.
David Freese is on the disabled list, and outside of the two Joshes (first baseman Josh Bell is hitting .258/.345/.464, utility man Josh Harrison is hitting .305/.373/.495, both with five home runs) nobody is really hitting much on the active roster.
Newcomer Gift Ngoepe, the first African-born major leaguer in history, has excelled in his early stages. The 27-year-old utility infielder is hitting .292/.433/.417 in 30 plate appearances.
Andrew McCutchen is a career .315/.403/.537 hitter against the Dodgers, with 10 home runs in 54 games. But he enters Monday hitting just .218/.298/.400 this season, and sat on Sunday after a 3-for-30 slump.
The Pirates bullpen has thrown the same number of innings as the Dodgers (102⅔), but has allowed 23 more runners to reach base, while the Dodgers relievers have 38 more strikeouts.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA