Pirates @ Dodgers May 10, 2017: Maeda for the sweep; Toles out for season with torn ACL

(Via)

Following last night’s exciting extra-innings walkoff, the Dodgers have the chance to sweep the Pirates, and they’ll send Kenta Maeda (5.81 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 1.323 WHIP) to the mound to try to get the job done. He’ll face 24-year-old right-hander Chad Kuhl (5.54 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.615 WHIP).

Pirates
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
3B
Harrison
CF
Pederson
C
Cervelli
SS
Seager
CF
McCutchen
3B
Turner
RF
Polanco
LF
Bellinger
1B
Bell
C
Grandal
LF
Osuna
2B
Taylor
2B
Moroff 1B Utley
SS
Mercer
RF
Puig
P
Kuhl (R)
P
Maeda (R)

Maeda has struggled this season, although his last two starts have been considerably more promising than his first four. The difference, as we’ve discussed on here, is that he’s been toying around with a cutter that, so far, seems to be pretty effective. After striking out no more than five batters in his first four starts, he struck out eight batters each in his subsequent two starts. In a combined 12 innings pitched in those games, he’s allowed just four runs (three earned). We’ll continue to keep an eye on that tonight.

Kuhl made his major league debut last season against the Dodgers, and he fared pretty well, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks while striking out five in five innings pitched. The Pirates won that game, 4-3. Kuhl faced the Dodgers again later in the season in Los Angeles, this time going six innings and allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five. The Pirates also won that game, 11-3. After three solid starts to open the season, Kuhl got lit up by the Cubs on April 24, giving up nine runs in just 1.2 IP. On April 30, he exited his start against the Marlins in the fifth inning after taking a line drive off the knee. On May 5, he pitched three shutout innings against the Brewers before a rain delay forced him out of that game early.

As reported yesterdayChase Utley is in tonight’s lineup. However, he’s at first base instead of second, with the absurdly hot Chris Taylor starting there once again. The injury to Andrew Toles — more on that in a second — has made it necessary for Cody Bellinger to return to left field.

Utley has played one inning at first this year. This will be his 26th career start there, with his last one coming in 2015 (with the Dodgers, actually — and if you remember that, your memory is much better than mine).

—–

Well, we akso have an update on Toles, and it is decidedly not good:

It’s obviously a big blow to the Dodgers — Toles has an .824 OPS in 217 plate appearances these past two seasons. But beyond that, Toles’s story has been both fun and inspiring to follow, and it’s an absolute shame that he’ll be losing the rest of this season.

Here’s to an easy recovery, Tolesy.

The corresponding move to get him on the DL:

Welcome back, Scott Van Slyke and Brett Eibner. Bye, Adam Liberatore, nice having you around for all of two days.

As for what the defensive alignments might look like until Logan Forsythe and Adrián González return:

When exactly will those two return, though? Well:

Shrug.

Finally, a rotation update:

Brandon McCarthy threw a simulated game earlier today.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She now writes for The Hardball Times, FanGraphs and Sporting News, and co-hosts a podcast, The Hardball Times Audio. She recently earned her master’s degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor’s in History and a minor in American Studies. She’s an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.