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Dodgers and Pirates catching up to each other

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

The Dodgers open a series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, a three-game set between two teams diverging after unexpected starts to their 2018 seasons.

Before the season FanGraphs projected the Dodgers to win 95 games, and their over/under win total at Bovada was 96½. They started out 16-26. Pittsburgh, after trading Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, was tabbed by FanGraphs to win 76 games this season, and Bovada pegged them at 73 wins. They started 26-17.

Now the Dodgers are 29-30 and the Pirates are 30-29, heading in different directions. LA has 13 wins in their last 17 games, and Pittsburgh is 4-12 over the last three or so weeks.

A common theme between the two teams has been great production from catchers. Francisco Cervelli is hitting .278/.399/.535, leading all major league catchers in on-base percentage, slugging, wRC+ (155), fWAR (2.2) and bWAR (1.9).

Yasmani Grandal is hitting .251/.353/.462, fifth in wRC+ (128) and fWAR (1.4). Factoring in backups Austin Barnes and Elias Diaz, the Pirates and Dodgers have the top two catching crews in the National League. They are first and third, respectively, in the majors in OPS from the catching position, with the Yankees (.263/.357/.550) in between.

Pitching matchups

Ross Stripling starts the opener for the Dodgers, having allowed five total runs in his last four starts, with 35 strikeouts and two walks.

Joe Musgrove missed nearly two months with a right shoulder strain, but has been great in his two starts since returning. Musgrove, who was part of the return for Cole from Houston this offseason, has allowed one run in 14 innings with the Pirates, with 12 strikeouts and four walks, winning both games.

Game info

Time: 4:05 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA