By Jared Lankes
The Pirates were able to claw out a series win over the Padres to give them a 4-2 homestand. The pitching has been turning a corner while the offense is still inconsistent but showed a bit better. Now, they get back to playing teams that are playoff caliber. This will be an important stretch for the Pirates. If they can win against these teams, they have a shot. It starts in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Friday: Ross Stripling (3-3 3.79 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (8-6 4.83 ERA) 10:10 ET
This was supposed to be the Dodgers debut for lefty Rich Hill. However, he is still isn’t ready to pitch in a game with a blister issue. So, instead it’s Ross Stripling. Stripling hasn’t been bad in his time in the MLB so far. This is not a foe to be taken lightly. For the Pirates, it’s Ivan Nova. Nova pitched quite well in his Pirates’ debut on Saturday. He looks to build on that success on Friday. If he does, the Pirates will certainly have a chance.
Saturday: TBD vs Gerrit Cole (7-7 2.94 ERA) 4:05 ET
The Dodgers probables for the last 2 games are not confirmed yet, but this start could go to Brandon McCarthy or Julio Urias. For the Pirates, Gerrit Cole gets the nod. He didn’t look good against the Reds, a team he can’t seem to beat. There’s no reason to think he won’t be better in this start though.
Sunday: TBD vs Chad Kuhl (2-0 3.91 ERA) 4:10 ET
Another TBD for the Dodgers. It could be Brett Anderson or Julio Urias or really anyone. For the Pirates, it’ll be Chad Kuhl. Despite being just 2-0, the Pirates have won when he’s started. He famously beat Clayton Kershaw in his MLB debut on Sunday Night Baseball in PNC Park in late June. Kuhl has looked rather good so far in his short MLB career. If he keeps this up, he will stick in the rotation for sure.
This is a big series for the Pirates. They would love to keep momentum going on the road out west. The Dodgers have a good team, so this series seems to be a measuring stick for the Pirates.