Still thriving amid trying circumstances with the pitching staff, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have their third bullpen game in the past six days when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
With their deep pockets and All-Star starting lineup, nobody is about to give the Dodgers any sympathy for injuries in the starting rotation. When Los Angeles isn’t in the middle of a bullpen game, the team is sending out the likes of Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and David Price to pitch, backed by a lineup of high-profile run producers.
But lately it has been right-hander Mitch White starting bullpen games, as he did last week against the Philadelphia Phillies, and he will pitch bulk innings Wednesday. The Dodgers still are unsure if White will start or they will use an opener.
On Monday, left-hander Justin Bruihl made his fifth career appearance for the Dodgers and first start when he pitched the opening inning. Through it all, the Dodgers have won nine of their past 10 games, including a 4-3 victory over the Pirates on Tuesday.
The Dodgers have been in scramble mode with injuries to Dustin May (Tommy John surgery), Clayton Kershaw (elbow inflammation), Julio Urias (calf contusion) and Tony Gonsolin (shoulder inflammation). Trevor Bauer is on administrative leave.
“We’ve just gotta continue to play good baseball,” said Price, who was pegged for a relief role but has made 10 starts for the Dodgers this season out of necessity. “I still really don’t feel like we’ve played our best baseball. … It’s good to see us win one-run games, because we’ve lost our fair share of one-run games and extra-inning games.”
White (0-1, 3.86 ERA) has become something of a revelation after 16 appearances this season, which includes a four-inning outing against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. He gave up two runs and took the loss as the Phillies won 2-1, but his four-inning stint matched a career high.
He never has faced the Pirates.
Pittsburgh will counter with right-hander JT Brubaker (4-12, 5.13), who has lost eight consecutive decisions since a May 29 win over the Colorado Rockies. Since the start of June, Brubaker has a 6.47 ERA in 11 starts while giving up 15 home runs.
Only two pitchers have more season losses: Jorge Lopez of the Baltimore Orioles and Adbert Alzolay of the Chicago Cubs, with 13 each. He’s one of six pitchers with 12 losses.
Brubaker started a game at home against the Dodgers on June 8, his only career appearance against them, giving up three runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings with no walks and six strikeouts. He took the loss in a 5-3 defeat.
The Pirates have lost 15 consecutive games against the Dodgers but have been competitive in this series. They held the lead into the seventh inning in Monday’s series opener and were tied into the fifth inning on Tuesday in a pair of one-run defeats.
Pittsburgh also has lost 12 consecutive games at Los Angeles, last winning there on Aug. 14, 2016.
The Pirates have played six consecutive games against a left-handed starter and will have to wait to see if they get a seventh on Wednesday or whether the Dodgers will start the right-handed White.
“It’s more the stuff as you see guys with varying (ability),” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the oddity of facing so many lefties. “Sometimes you see guys who throw hard, sometimes you see guys who execute their breaking ball. It’s probably stranger for the switch hitters because usually the only right-handed at-bats they get are late in a game off high-leverage relievers.”
–Field Level Media