The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t had much to cheer about this season.
They’ll try to find some positives when they open a seven-game homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
The Pirates are coming off a 7-3 loss at the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, ending their rain-shortened road trip with a 2-3 record and dropping back to a season-low five games under .500.
The five-win Reds took two of three against the Pirates for their first series victory of the season.
Pittsburgh will be up against one of the best teams in the National League, and one of the hottest starting pitchers.
The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday evening in Chicago with a 7-1 victory, giving them six straight wins.
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias is scheduled to start the opener of the three-game series against the Pirates. He has allowed one run or fewer while pitching at least five innings in each of his past four outings.
Urias (2-1, 1.88 ERA) is coming off six shutout innings in a 3-1 win against the visiting San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
“We’re going to lean on him all summer,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Urias has had good success in his career against the Pirates, owning a 3-0 mark and 2.37 ERA in five career appearances, including two starts.
One of the few positives for Pittsburgh this season was the shutout streak by reliever Dillon Peters to start the season, but that also came crashing to a halt on Sunday.
Peters entered in the sixth with a 2-0 lead and promptly allowed a single and three straight walks to force in a run and end his scoreless streak at 16 2/3 innings.
Heath Hembree replaced Peters and surrendered a grand slam, dropping the Pirates in a 5-2 hole and raising Peters’ ERA to 2.16.
The news on catcher Roberto Perez’s injury didn’t make Sunday any better for Pittsburgh.
Perez strained his left hamstring while running from first to third in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, and he’s expected to be sidelined for an extended period.
The Pirates were hoping the 33-year-old Perez would show signs of the production he delivered for the Cleveland Guardians in 2019, when he hit 24 home runs in 119 games.
“It’s challenging,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said of Perez’s injury. “A guy that’s an integral part of what we’re doing on the pitching side, and to lose him to an injury, it’s going to be a tough blow for us.”
Michael Perez was recalled from Triple-AAA Indianapolis and started at catcher on Sunday. He had a two-run homer in the second inning in his first at-bat of the season to give the Pirates the early lead.
Jose Quintana (0-1, 3.38 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener for the Pirates.
Quintana is 1-1 in nine career appearances against the Dodgers, including six starts. He has a 2.09 ERA in those games.
He made one start and three relief appearances against the Dodgers last season while with the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants.
The Pirates are expected to have right-hander Duane Underwood Jr. available after he missed the past month with a hamstring strain.
He had a 4.33 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 43 appearances out of the bullpen for the Pirates last season.
–Field Level Media