Dodgers @ Pirates Aug. 21, 2017: Wood vs. Cole to start a 4-game series

The Dodgers begin a 4-game series in Pittsburgh tonight against the struggling Pirates, a team that I picked to be in the postseason before the season started.

Dodgers
Pirates
4:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh
CF
Taylor
LF
Marte
SS
Seager
2B
Harrison
3B
Turner
CF
McCutchen
LF
Granderson
3B
Freese
C
Grandal
1B
Osuna
RF
Puig RF Rodriguez
1B
Gonzalez
SS
Mercer
2B
Utley
C
Stewart
P
Wood (L)
P
Cole (R)

It looked like the Pirates might be surging a few weeks ago, but baseball is a game of attrition and it’s catching up to them. That said, they’re still a talented team and the Dodgers can’t overlook them.

Alex Wood gets the nod tonight. He seems to be back on track — kinda — after a couple poor outings to close July against the Twins and Giants. In August, Wood owns a 1.89 ERA and a 3.72 FIP, but he also has just a 15.6 K% and a 42.6 GB% — both season-lows for him (in terms of a month). His fastball velocity is also trending in the wrong direction, as he averaged a season-low 91.35 MPH on his sinker last time out against the White Sox. His other pitches haven’t been impacted nearly as much as his fastball. That’s something to keep an eye on going forward. I know he has admitted being a bit fatigued and the Dodgers don’t plan on skipping any starts, but maybe they should. You know, once Clayton Kershaw comes back (more on that shortly).

Gerrit Cole gets the call for the Buccos. He hasn’t been good this season (4.04 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 16.8 HR/FB%), but looked more like his old self in July (2.98 FIP, 26.2 K%) … but July was so long ago. He has a 5.19 FIP in August because of five home runs allowed in 20 innings, but he is still striking hitters out (25.3 percent) at an almost season-high rate. Could be a boom or bust kind of game for the Blue.

The lineup looks solid. This might be the lineup for the next day or two as Cody Bellinger recovers from his midly sprained ankle. Once he’s back, expect Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley to lose playing time against right-handed pitching (Bellinger to center field, Chris Taylor to second base). Curtis Granderson, fresh off his first home run yesterday, is hitting cleanup for the Dodgers tonight. Makes sense.

——

Kershaw threw a simulated game today in Pittsburgh.

That led to this from Andy McCullough:

Kershaw was only to throw three innings, but he talked the coaching staff into a fourth. Andy seemed convinced Kershaw will throw Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Then Rick Honeycutt and Ken Gurnick ruined that dream.

Sigh. Oh well, he’ll be back soon enough.

Kershaw is in his age-29 season. This will be his first appearance in Triple-A.

Yu Darvish threw a bullpen today.

He’s tentatively scheduled to start Sunday at Dodger Stadium against Milwaukee. Gonna be great once the band gets back together.

His ankle is swole. Here’s hoping the swole goes away soon.

Brock Brock is coming back! This had been reported over the weekend, but it is now confirmed.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin’ Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.