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Los Angeles Dodgers vs Pittsburgh Pirates Lineups, preview and prediction (8/21)

The Dodgers have a commanding division lead while Pittsburgh is struggling to reach .500. Do the Pirates have what it takes to beat the best team in baseball?


Los Angeles dropped the final game in their three-game series against Detroit over the weekend 6-1. However, the team has gone 8-2 in their last ten games, including a six-game winning streak. During that span, they scored 4.6 runs per game and allowed 3.3 runs per game. They are 3-0 against Pittsburgh this season.

After losing six games in a row, the Pirates took the last two games of their three-game series against division rivals St. Louis. In their last ten games, their lineup has averaged 5.0 runs per game, while their pitchers have allowed 6.1 runs per game. They need to get their pitching under control if they hope to continue forward with the momentum they gained this weekend although the Dodgers power heavy lineup will make this difficult. 

Game 1 Starters – Alex Wood (LHP) vs Gerrit Cole (RHP)

Alex Wood has been the Dodgers ace this season with Clayton Kershaw seeing limited game action due to injury. In 117.1 innings in 2017, Wood has a 2.30 ERA and 1.01 WHIP and has struck out 9.36 hitters per nine innings. In three starts in August the lefty has allowed only four runs in 19 innings, striking out 12 and walking none. In one start against Pittsburgh back in May, he pitched five scoreless innings allowing just two hits.

Cole has had a relatively mediocre 2017. He comes into this week with a 4.04 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 153.2 innings pitched. He has been a workhorse for Pittsburgh although he has not been in top form. In his last three starts, he has pitched a combined 20 innings and allowed 10 runs on 19 hits while striking out 21. He has not faced the Dodgers so far this season. 

Lineups

Dodgers LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Taylor, CF17.311.383
Seager, SS19.308.394
Turner, 3B17.340.430
Bellinger, LF34.274.357
Grandal, C16.264.318
Gonzalez, 1B1.249.294
Forsythe, 2B3.241.363
Puig, RF21.249.335
Wood, P0.049.071
Pirates LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Marte, LF3.278.342
Harrison, 2B14.278.346
McCutchen, CF23.288.380
Bell, 1B21.261.340
Freese, 3B9.261.376
Frazier, RF4.284.350
Mercer, SS11.249.322
Stewart, C0.194.237
Cole, P0.143.163

Who’s hot, and who’s not

Chris Taylor is hitting .400 in his last four games, with two doubles and two RBIs. In August he has a 1.048 OPS, partly due to his four doubles, one triple, and five home runs in 16 games. Cody Bellinger has been even better in August, sporting a 1.075 OPS. He has six home runs and ten RBIs in his last 16, including 39 total bases, which is good for second on the team behind Taylor, who has 40. 

Justin Turner has been uncharacteristically average as of late. In his last five games, he has just five hits in 20 at-bats, good for a .250 average, which is well off his season mark of .340. He has no extra-base hits in his last five games. Yasiel Puig’s struggles continue as well. He carried a .208 average in August into Monday’s game. The slugger has just five extra-base hits with just two home runs in his last 17 games. 

Starling Marte is on fire as of late. In his last six games, he has put up 13 hits while scoring eight runs. That’s good for a .520 batting average over the course of his last 25 at-bats. He has six multi-hit games in a row dating back to August 15th. Josh Bell is also swinging the bat well with a 1.016 OPS in his last 18 games. During that span, he has driven in 16 while scoring ten times. Nine of those 16 RBIs have come in his last six games. 

Although Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates in just about every offensive category, he has posted an OPS of .707 in August, nearly 200 points lower than his season rate. The center fielder has nearly as many strikeouts (16) as he has hits (17) in his last 18 games played. Jordy Mercer is having trouble at the plate this month. In 17 games he is batting .175 with 15 strikeouts in 66 plate appearances. He has two extra-base hits in his last 10 games. 

Prediction: Dodgers 6 – 2 Pirates

The Dodgers are coasting into the post-season and doing it in style. With the division locked up, they continue to win games by huge margins while resting their best players. I don’t see the Pirates posing a threat to this ridiculous tear they have been on, especially with Pittsburgh’s pitchers being as bad as they have been lately. 

Where to watch

Today’s game will be broadcast on SNLA and ATTO, and streaming on MLB.TV for out of market subscribers. 

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Los Angeles Dodgers vs Pittsburgh Pirates Lineups, preview and prediction (8/21)

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