When the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates take the field Wednesday to decide their three-game series, it’s easy to envision anything happening.
After all, the first two games of the set were about as divergent as possible.
On Monday, the Pirates, sitting near the bottom of the National League, pounded out 15 hits and stymied the first-place Dodgers, who were held to four hits and barely squeaked out a run in the ninth inning in a 5-1 game.
If that was a role reversal, then Tuesday could be called true to form.
Los Angeles had a season-high 10 extra-base hits, including eight doubles, and held Pittsburgh to four hits in an 11-1 romp.
“There’s no free outs in their lineup,” said Pirates pitcher Bryse Wilson, who took the loss on Tuesday. “That’s what makes them so good.”
The Dodgers had won six straight before the Monday loss, and they were determined to bounce back.
“Different from (Monday), and just good to see guys break out,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said, adding that overall his team has been stellar on offense even if sometimes the results haven’t followed.
“I really feel that we’re controlling the zone as well as anyone. We’re taking walks. We’re having hard contact. And a lot of times we’re just not getting rewarded. But I think that our ability to create traffic and get on base allows for us to score runs every night.”
Before Monday, the Dodgers had beaten the Pirates 16 straight times. In those 16 games, they amassed 111 runs while holding Pittsburgh to 46 runs. Los Angeles is 24-3 against the Pirates since 2017.
Thus Monday’s game seems like the outlier, pending Wednesday’s outcome.
In the series finale, Los Angeles right-hander Ryan Pepiot will make his major league debut, facing Pittsburgh left-hander Dillon Peters (3-1, 2.16 ERA).
Pepiot, 24, will be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City for the start, Roberts confirmed before the Tuesday game after widespread speculation.
“I know he’s got some family in town,” Roberts said. “He’s earned it. It’s an exciting time for his family, for himself, the Dodgers. We look forward to it.”
Selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2019 draft, Pepiot made it to Triple-A last year.
This season for Oklahoma City, Pepiot has a 2.05 ERA in six starts, with 36 strikeouts and 12 walks in 26 1/3 innings. Pepiot, the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the month for April, gave up two runs and struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings against Albuquerque on Friday.
Los Angeles left-hander Robbie Erlin also had been a possibility for the start Wednesday, but he ended up pitching on Monday.
As for Pepiot’s leash, Roberts said, “That’s contingent on performance.”
Peters, meanwhile, almost assuredly will be used as an opener, especially since he just pitched Sunday — when he did not record an out in a relief appearance and gave up four runs and one hit and three walks in Pittsburgh’s 7-3 loss at Cincinnati.
It was not only his first loss this season but also the first runs Peters has allowed. Among the problems was a bases-loaded walk.
“I didn’t throw strikes, didn’t get ahead, and I walked three guys in a row and walked a run in,” a frustrated Peters said. “Simple as that.”
Of Peters’ nine appearances this year, two have been starts.
Peters has faced the Dodgers once in his career, a 2018 no-decision when he gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media