Preview: Dodgers Shuffle Lineup, Pirates Looking To Avoid Being Swept
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers were dealt crushing news, when an MRI exam revealed Andrew Toles suffered a torn ACL. He and Adam Liberatore were placed on the disabled list, with Brett Eibner and Scott Van Slyke joining the Dodgers from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Los Angeles enters play Wednesday night in position to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates and extend their winning streak to a season-best five games. Kenta Maeda takes the mound for his seventh start this season, with an opportunity to continue building on strong outings.

During his last time out, Maeda allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks against the San Diego Padres, though only went five innings. He called the start an interesting night.

Prior to that, Maeda had his best outing of the young season, permitting just two runs on five hits in seven innings pitched against the Philadelphia Phillies. Maeda’s recent success has been tied to incorporating a cutter.

Maeda’s repertoire of pitches relies heavily on the ability to paint the corners and use his deceptive pitchers to keep the hitters guessing. His adjustment has paid dividends, recording eight strikeouts in each of his past two starts.

Maeda allowed four runs on four hits last season at PNC Park in his lone career start against the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen was responsible for the damage, hitting two home runs and driving in four runs.

Overall this season, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 5.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 4.55 FIP and 69 ERA+. The Pirates counter with Chad Kuhl, who is also in his second season in the Majors.

The 24-year-old has hit an unlucky stretch over his last two starts, as both outings cut short due to circumstances out of his control. On April 30, Kuhl was forced to an early exit after taking a comebacker off his knee.

He allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in four innings before being removed. Kuhl had his last start rained out after only three innings. Kuhl made his MLB debut at Dodger Stadium last June 26.

He allowed three runs on four hits and issued four walks, but escaped with a win. Then facing the Dodgers at home, Kuhl limited them to two runs on six hits in six innings, earning another win.

This season, Kuhl is 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 77 ERA+ and 1.62 WHIP in six starts. Justin Turner is 2-for-2 off him, with a double, home run and three RBIs. With Toles no longer available, Joc Pederson figures to be the Dodgers’ primary leadoff hitter against a right-handed starter.

In response to Cody Bellinger shifting out to left field, Chase Utley makes his first start at first base this season.

Dodgers lineup:

CF: Joc Pederson
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
LF: Cody Bellinger
C: Yasmani Grandal
2B: Chris Taylor
1B: Chase Utley
RF: Yasiel Puig
P: Kenta Maeda

Pirates lineup:

3B: Josh Harrison
C: Francisco Cervelli
CF: Andrew McCutchen
RF: Gregory Polanco
1B: Josh Bell
LF: Jose Osuna
2B: Max Moroff
SS: Jordy Mercer
P: Chad Kuhl