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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Games 20, 21 vs. Pirates

The simulated Dodgers face the Pirates for the first time this season in Out of the Park Baseball 21.

MLB: NLDS-Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This is the 17th installment of an ongoing series, where my dad and I will simulate each game on the Dodgers schedule until real Dodger baseball returns. Catch up on the rest of the series here! Thanks all for the comments and support!

Welcome back! Last time out, Gavin Lux hit a walk-off home run to salvage a win against the Cardinals. Now we move onto a different NL Central opponent in this home stretch, with a three-game series against the 8-11 Pirates.

We’ll play two of those games here Saturday, with the third Sunday. First up: Ross Stripling (1-0, 3.63 ERA) against Chris Stratton (1-2, 5.89 ERA).

It’s time for the games! Watch it here or scroll below to find out what happened. If you want to be notified when we go live with future simulations and chime in with your live feedback and/or input on managerial decisions, follow me on Twitch!

Ross Stripling pitched a wonderful game in the first end of the doubleheader. After giving up a triple in the first to Josh Bell, he settled down and ended up with seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk against six strikeouts.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Dodgers offense gave Stripling a lead to work with thanks a two-out rally. After Max Muncy struck out and Justin Turner grounded out, Cody Bellinger hit a bloop single into left field. Corey Seager lined a hard double into left-center, scoring Bellinger. Austin Barnes followed up with a double down the right field line, scoring Seager and making it 2-0 Dodgers.

Despite Stripling’s excellent pitching, we made the tough decision to pinch him for him with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. The pinch hitter, Joc Pederson (rested in favor of Matt Beaty due to a recent slump), slapped a single through the right side of the infield, and singles from Mookie Betts and Max Muncy loaded the bases. But Justin Turner grounded out to second, ending what could have been another lucrative two-out rally.

Pedro Baez came in to pitch the eighth, and after getting Ke’Bryan Hayes to fly out to center, Erik Gonzalez hit his first home run of the season, making it 2-1. Luke Maile reached second base on an error by Turner, and Colin Moran singled him home to tie the game. Baez walked Jarrod Dyson, but got Kevin Newman to fly out for the second out. With runners on first and second and Josh Bell up, Baez threw a wild pitch, advancing the runners. We elected to intentionally walk Bell and pull Baez, bringing in Joe Kelly with the bases loaded and two outs.

Kelly walked the first batter Gregory Polanco on four pitches, scoring Moran and giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Bryan Reynolds grounded out to end the inning.

Michael Feliz came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Pirates, getting Bellinger to pop out to second to lead things off. But the next batter Corey Seager hit an 0-2 pitch into the right field bleachers, tying the game 3-3. It was Seager’s third home run of the year.

Both bullpens delivered strong performances in extra innings. Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless tenth for us, and Scott Alexander pitched scoreless eleventh and twelfth innings. In the bottom of the twelfth, with Dovydas Neverauskas on the mound for the Pirates, pinch hitter A.J. Pollock led off with a single. Mookie Betts doubled, for his third hit of the game, advancing Pollock to second. The Pirates intentionally walked Muncy to load the bases, bringing up the 0-for-5 Justin Turner. Turner struck out, but Bellinger followed up with an RBI single, scoring Pollock and winning the game 4-3.

Here’s the box score:

So that’s two walk-off wins for the Dodgers, and quite a bit of excitement for us in our respective chairs/couches.

On to the next one, which from the pitching matchup looks even more advantageous for us against the now-last place Pirates. It’ll be Alex Wood (2-0, 0.99 ERA) vs. Hector Noesi (0-1, 7.94 ERA).

I’ll spare the suspense: this one was a dominating win for the Dodgers. The lead started with a two-run double by Chris Taylor in the bottom of the first, and Taylor didn’t stop there. He ended the game 3-for-4 with three doubles (apparently entering a 59-way tie for the single game Dodger record), three RBIs and two runs. Taylor was in the lineup to give Justin Turner a rest, but with Joc Pederson slumping as much as he is in left field and Taylor hitting well, it might be time to consider looking into our options there.

Other highlights include Corey Seager’s 2-for-4 performances at the plate, with his fourth home run of the season. Matt Beaty, starting at first in place of Max Muncy, went 1-for-3 with an RBI and two walks, and Will Smith knocked in three runs, too.

The final score: 9-2 Dodgers. Alex Wood pitched his second complete game of the season, moving to 3-0 after starting the season in the bullpen.

Here’s the box score:

So after a little bump in the road, the 16-5 Dodgers now ride a three-game winning streak and look for a sweep Sunday against the Pirates. The Astros, at 16-4, still have the best record in baseball, but we’re three games up on the Diamondbacks in the NL West.

And now that we’re more than 20 games again, let’s check in on the leaders around baseball:

And pitching:

Next time: Walker Buehler (1-2, 2.25 ERA) looking to rebound from two straight losses against Joe Musgrove (2-2, 5.18 ERA). See you then!