Not a lot of people who inhabit the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout or front office were around the last time they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That was in June 2018, and the Dodgers extended their winning streak over the Pirates to 11 games with a series-opening 5-3 win Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Still, Pirates second-year manager Derek Shelton appreciates the challenge.
“I think it’s exciting for our group to play against the team that won the World Series last year and get after this team,” Shelton told AT&T Sportsnet.
The Dodgers arrived in Pittsburgh for this three-game set having been a little inconsistent — 4-7 over the previous 11 games, and Tuesday’s win got them to above .500 on the road.
Asked about the up-and-down season the Dodgers are having, Shelton said. “Teams can go through streaks regardless of how good they are. We just have to go out and play good baseball.”
Los Angeles slugger Albert Pujols, who brings what Shelton called a “veteran presence” to the Dodgers’ lineup since joining them earlier this season, will likely play Wednesday after being given a night off Tuesday.
His spot at first base was manned by Max Muncy, who was 2-for-5 with an RBI single after he had been held out since Friday because of an ankle issue. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said Muncy will not play second base in this series because of limited lateral movement.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles right-hander Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is probable to start against Pittsburgh left-hander Tyler Anderson (3-5, 4.67).
Gonsolin, who has never faced Pittsburgh, is expected to come off the injured list and will be making his season debut after recovering from a shoulder injury. He recently built his pitch count up to 60 during a rehab stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
“Whatever (the team) needs from me (Wednesday), I’m ready to go,” Gonsolin said.
Asked about his approach after such a long layoff, Gonsolin said, “Go out there and attack, throw strike one. Try to get some early-count outs. Try to be efficient and see what happens. Physically, I feel good. I’m ready to get out there. I’m ready to get my first outing of 2021 under way and try to attack guys and be confident and do the best I can do.”
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said of Gonsolin, “As of now, he’s our fifth starter.” That gives the Dodgers five true starters for the first time since May 1 when Dustin May got hurt.
Gonsolin essentially will replace David Price, who served as an opener in bullpen games his past three turns.
Anderson has lost three of his past four decisions but is coming off a no-decision Thursday when he gave up three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings against Miami.
The Dodgers’ potent lineup, with 73 homers, could be a dangerous team for Anderson to face; he has given up seven home runs over his past four starts.
In his career, Anderson is 3-6 with a 4.69 ERA in 14 starts against Los Angeles.
–Field Level Media