With outfielder Bryan Reynolds back in the fold, the Pittsburgh Pirates will hit the road this week in an attempt to find some of the form they showed on the most recent homestand
Reynolds returned Sunday from a stint on the injured list because of lower back inflammation and went 0-for-4 in a 6-3 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was Pittsburgh’s second consecutive defeat after opening a six-game home stretch with four consecutive wins.
Now the Pirates head to Los Angeles to open a four-game series against the Dodgers on Monday night before they close the first half of the season with a visit to the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks
The Pirates won two of the three home games they played against the Dodgers from April 25-27. In the two victories, Reynolds combined to record three hits with two RBIs, as he was in the middle of a streak when he recorded an RBI in six consecutive games played
In the April 27 victory that earned the series win over the Dodgers, Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller matched a career high with 10 strikeouts to earn the win. Three starts later, he set a career best with 13 strikeouts against the Baltimore Orioles
Keller (9-3, 3.34 ERA), who was named a National League All-Star on Sunday, is scheduled to start Monday’s series opener. In three career starts against the Dodgers, he is 2-1 with a 5.27 ERA and has 18 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings
“A lot of hard work, a lot of people supporting me along the way — family, coaches, teammates, probably a lot of people I’m missing,” Keller said of his All-Star nod, according to the Pittsburgh Post -Gazette. “Just everybody the past couple years. It’s really cool. Really cool moment.”
The Dodgers are undecided on their starter for Monday. Left-hander Clayton Kershaw (10-4, 2.55 ERA), himself named an NL All-Star, is in line to take the mound but has been dealing with shoulder discomfort. Rookie right-hander Michael Grove (0-2, 7.54) will be on hand as a potential replacement Monday if Kershaw goes on the injured list
The Dodgers will unleash a number of All-Stars on the Pirates even if Kershaw doesn’t take the mound as Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, J.D. Martinez and Will Smith all were honored. But the Dodgers have not been playing like a team with so many top players
Los Angeles will return home after consecutive defeats to the lowly Kansas City Royals, who won their first series since mid-May. The Dodgers went 3-3 on a trip to face a pair of last-place clubs in the Colorado Rockies and Royals
Dodgers pitchers gave up a combined 15 runs over the past two games at Kansas City as starters Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin combined to pitch just 6 2/3 innings. A taxed bullpen only adds to the speculation that Kershaw will go on the IL and not risk a short start Monday
“Those guys just outplayed us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the Royals, who are second to last in baseball with 319 runs scored. “It’s a different brand of baseball, as far as putting the ball in play, hitting behind runners, stealing bases. They were excellent at situational hitting. To be quite honest, we couldn’t keep up. That’s how they beat us.
–Field Level Media