Ping, Ping, Ping! These sounds echoed throughout the night at Dodger Stadium as they routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 17-1, in what seemed to be a never-ending day of batting practice. The Dodgers accumulated over 21 hits and had four home runs, a continual sign of success for MLB’s 8th-best offense.
Pirates pitcher Nick Kingham wishes he could forget last night. He was responsible for three first-innings gaffes that led to two early Dodger runs. He failed to catch a throw from second baseman Josh Harrison, he balked and struggled to field a PFP (pitching fielding practice) cleanly. To make matters worse, Pirates catcher Elias Diaz misthrew a pitch back to the pitcher. As a result, a runner scorer from third scored.
It wasn’t the most ideal outing. It’s time to clear the heads of yesterday as we enter the second game of this series between these two teams.
Preview and Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The Pittsburgh Pirates will send out right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova to battle against the high-powered Dodgers. He’s entering his ninth season with his second team. Nova throws four different pitches: curveball, sinker, four-seam fastball, and change-up. He heavily relies on his 93 mph sinker, which has an obvious tail and generates more whiffs than other pitches.
This year, he’s posted a 4.02 ERA with four wins and five losses. In his last three outings, Nova is in a groove, only allowing four runs in 20 innings of work. Against the Dodgers, Nova currently is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts.
The Los Angeles Dodgers look to counter with ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw. This will be his third start since coming off the disabled list with a back injury. He’s been anxious to get a full start and increase his pitch count.
” I will get ready and try to beat an opponent,” Kershaw told reporters after his last start.
Kershaw has not thrown more than 68 pitches since May 1st so he is ready to rev up his workload. The Dodgers could really use his domination and finesse on the mound. They sit back one and a half games from first place in the NL West and need elite pitching to get over the edge. They’ve been in the playoffs the past five years and know Kershaw is part of the puzzle piece. He has pitched over 122 innings in the postseason and has learned to handle pressurized situations.
In order to get there, the team needs to repeat the same batting fundamentals. Outfielder Matt Kemp will look to relead the offensive surge again as he has accumulated eight hits in the past two games. At 33 years old, he’s still flashing All-Star-caliber production, slashing a .323/.359/.565.
The veteran slugger is currently the second-leading vote getter for National League outfielders for the July 17th All-Star game.
This game will be much closer as two surging pitchers have great knockout pitches and are able to induce many ground balls. In Nova’s past four outings, he amassed a 2-0 record with a 1.75 ERA. Kershaw hasn’t picked up a win since April 15th but has only allowed four runs in 13 innings. I expect a pitcher’s duel with a lot of whiffs.
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