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Dodgers want one more night of fireworks at the plate

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Dodgers go for the series sweep over the Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES —— After scoring 25 runs and hitting 10 home runs in the first two games, the Dodgers will try to sweep the Pirates and end this 10-game home stand on winning note.

The last time Rich Hill faced the Pirates in August 2017, he retired 27 out of the first 28 hitters he pitched to at PNC Park. And Hill pitched well in his last start against the Rockies when he pitched 6⅔ innings and gave up a run and six hits while striking out ten.

Clay Holmes will make the start for the Pirates, the 25 year old will be making his first MLB start. The right-hander has pitched out of the bullpen in his two prior appearances for the Pirates.

Holmes was drafted out of high school in Slocumb, Alabama in 2011. Baseball America named him the Pirates 21st ranked prospect prior to this season. He’s not a strikeout pitcher, Baseball America called him an “extreme ground ball pitcher.”

Max Muncy is the second fastest player to reach first 20 home runs as a Dodger

Max Muncy began his 61st game in a Dodger uniform with 18 home runs, when the game ended he had 20 home runs. That is the second fastest any player had hit his first 20 home runs as a Dodger.

Cody Bellinger seemed to set every home run pace record the Dodgers had last year and he set a new MLB record when he hit his 20th (and 21st) home run in his 51st career game.

Eric Stephen wrote about Bellinger’s record pace in this article that also mentioned the previous Dodger rookie record to record 20 career home runs was 91 games by Frank Howard

Muncy is not a rookie, having played parts of two seasons with the Oakland A’s so I looked at players acquired by the Dodgers to see how he compared to them.

Manny Ramirez, who hit 17 home runs in 53 games in 2008, hit his 20th as a Dodger in his 67th game. Shawn Green hit his 20th home run as a Dodger in his 111th game in 2000. And Jeff Kent hit his 20th in his 100th game in 2005.

Jimmy Wynn did it in his 84th game as a Dodger in his great 1974 season. Reggie Smith hit his 20th in his 102nd career game as a Dodger in 1977. It took Dusty Baker 190 games in a Dodger blue before hitting his 20th as a Dodger in 1977.

More recently, In 2013, Hanley Ramirez hit his 20th home run in his 106th game as a Dodger. And Justin Turner hit his 20th as a Dodger in his 194th game in a Dodger uniform in 2015.

Muncy now 14th in NL with 44 walks

Despite having far less total plate appearances, Max Muncy is currently 14th in the National League with 44 walks. The last Dodger to have 50 walks and 20 home runs in the first half of the season was Joc Pederson in 2015. It has been done five times in Dodger franchise history since 1908.

Ross Stripling knew Max Muncy from facing him when Stripling was at Texas A&M and Muncy was at Baylor. I asked Stripling what type of hitter Muncy was when he faced him back then.

“I certainly remember in college, he was the guy you worried about in that Baylor lineup,” Stripling said, “he could control the zone, he’s going to get a pitch to hit, and he’s going to put the bat on the ball, and you just basically knew that, so you just tried to limit the damage.”

“Obviously got off to a tough start with Oakland, but he’s come over here and just doing more of that and really on his own,” Stripling said, “his strike zone isn’t any different he just commands it very well.”

Game Info

Time: 5:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA