Dodgers Vs. Pirates Game Preview: Max Muncy Returns To Lineup
Max Muncy
Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

After dropping the series against the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers begin a three-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

The Dodgers sit in third place in the National League West with a record of 35-24 while the Pirates, who are last in the NL Central, head into the matchup at 23-35.

Walker Buehler takes the mound for the Dodgers, having posted a 2.82 ERA and 3.72 FIP with 70 strikeouts and 13 walks over 70.1 innings pitched. He has only faced the Pirates one other time in his career, which came at PNC Park in 2019.

In that start, Buehler went six innings and allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

The Pirates counter with JT Brubaker, a 27-year-old right-hander who is their only starting pitcher with an ERA below 4.50. In 55.1 innings, he has pitched to a 3.74 ERA and 4.55 FIP while striking out 56 and walking 13. Brubaker, who made his MLB debut last season, has never faced the Dodgers.

The Dodgers against right-handers this season have hit .238/.337/.404, making them 9% better than league average by wRC+, good enough for fourth in the league. The Pirates against right-handers have, to put it mildly, struggled.

They are batting .229/.300./.349 this season, making them 18% worse than league average against righties, which places them 29th of the 30 teams.

Just as manager Dave Roberts hoped would be the case, Max Muncy is back in the Dodgers lineup after he didn’t start the last two games due to a mild right ankle sprain.

Muncy has performed at an MVP level this season, hitting .264/.422/.527 with 13 home runs and 30 runs batted in.

One Pirates’ player to keep an eye on during the series is right-handed relief pitcher Richard Rodriguez, who has posted a 1.85 ERA and 1.95 FIP in 24.1 innings. He will likely draw a lot of trade interest around the league and could be one of the top targets for the Dodgers.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
1B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Cody Bellinger
C: Will Smith
2B: Chris Taylor
SS: Gavin Lux
LF: AJ Pollock
P: Walker Buehler

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