The Pittsburgh Pirates will be on the hunt for West Coast success when they open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday to start a six-game road swing.
The Pirates have lost nine consecutive games at Dodger Stadium and will lean on switch-hitter Bryan Reynolds for their first victory in Los Angeles since Aug. 14, 2016.
Reynolds entered Sunday’s home series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers leading all major leaguers in hits by a switch hitter with 128. He also led in OPS (.931) and was third in extra-base hits (50).
He has 21 home runs and is just the fourth Pirates switch hitter with at least 20 in a season, joining a group that includes Bobby Bonilla. But the third-year player, who was an All-Star for the first time this season, has been unable to do a whole lot about the Pirates woeful 2-12 stretch since the start of August.
Reynolds had one of the four hits by the Pirates on Sunday in a 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Pirates left-hander Steven Brault (0-1, 3.00 ERA) will pitch in the series opener. He is making just his third start of the season since returning from a lat injury on his left side.
Brault surrendered two runs on five hits — two of them home runs — over five innings Tuesday in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Two mistakes in the middle of the plate and they got hit out of the ballpark for solo home runs and he gave us a chance to win,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said about Brault’s most recent appearance. “He continues to improve, continues to execute pitches.”
Brault is 1-0 lifetime against the Dodgers in four relief appearances with a 7.11 ERA.
The Dodgers are 36-20 at home this season and have won five of their past seven in their own park. Los Angeles will be returning from a 5-1 road trip against the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets and will enter off a convincing 14-4 victory at New York Sunday night that completed a three-game sweep.
Max Muncy hit two home runs Sunday, while Justin Turner, Matt Beaty and Will Smith each hit one as the Dodgers pounded out 16 hits.
Unable to make up ground on the first-place San Francisco Giants in the second half, the Dodgers enter Monday four games behind their rival in the National League West standings. The eight-time defending division champions were four games back when they left on their trip.
“I think with the guys that we have, there is a very ‘win-today’ mindset,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Orange County Register. “So I don’t think there is any added pressure. We’ve got to win. It is what it is.
“The Giants have earned where they’re at and we’ve got to catch them. That’s just the way it goes. Our goal, our expectation is still to win the division.”
Still working on rotation stability without Clayton Kershaw (elbow), Julio Urias (calf) and Trevor Bauer (administrative leave), the Dodgers will go with a bullpen game on Monday.
–Field Level Media