Preview: Pirates Eye 4-Game Sweep Of Dodgers

Preview: Pirates Eye 4-Game Sweep Of Dodgers

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers blazed a trail en route to beginning their seven-game homestand by reeling off six consecutive victories, including a three-game series sweep of the first-place Washington Nationals.

However, the Dodgers now find themselves limping to the end of a four-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Losers in 13 of their last 15 games entering Friday, Pittsburgh not only withstood a Clayton Kershaw start but enjoyed success against the Dodgers’ ace.

Their latest victory has them in position to complete a sweep in the wraparound series. Monday’s matchup features a pair of left-handed veterans in Scott Kazmir and Francisco Liriano.

Kazmir is coming off an outing where he was knocked around plenty, particularly with two outs, though only allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings. He didn’t earn a decision in a Dodgers win that came courtesy of a Yasmani Grandal go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth.

Kazmir enters 5-3 with a 4.52 ERA, 4.59 FIP and 1.30 WHIP, which includes a 2-0 mark and 5.17 ERA in seven road starts. The southpaw has been hurt by first-inning struggles this season, posting a 7.20 ERA and allowing opponents to bat .328/.400/.463 with three doubles and two home runs.

Liriano enters 4-7 with a 5.17 ERA, 5.44 FIP and 1.63 WHIP, and is coming off consecutive outings where he allowed four earned runs. Prior to that the 32-year-old lefty allowed four runs (one earned) to the St. Louis Cardinals over six innings, and seven runs (six earned) in just 3.1 innings against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Pitching at PNC Park has only led to mixed results for Liriano this season, as he’s 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in seven starts. He’s a career 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers.

That includes a 1-0 record, 5.40 ERA and 1.60 WHIP while twice facing Los Angeles last season. He tossed a combined 10 innings and gave up 10 hits, including one home run.

Adrian Gonzalez gets the second of two planned games off. He entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning on Sunday and remained in the game at first base. Scott Van Slyke makes a second consecutive start in Gonzalez’s place.

Howie Kendrick is at second base, while Chris Taylor makes his Dodgers debut at shortstop.

The Dodgers enter play on Monday a season-high eight games back of the streaking San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.

Dodgers lineup:

LF: Kiké Hernandez
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Trayce Thompson
RF: Yasiel Puig
2B: Howie Kendrick
1B: Scott Van Slyke
C: A.J. Ellis
SS: Chris Taylor
P: Scott Kazmir

Pirates lineup:

SS: Jordy Mercer
1B: David Freese
CF: Andrew McCutchen
2B: Jung-Ho Kang
LF: Starling Marte
2B: Josh Harrison
RF: Sean Rodriguez
C: Erik Kratz
P: Francisco Liriano