by Mike Stewart
The National League West has provided plenty of surprises in recent years, so the 5-1 start by the Los Angeles Dodgers should not really turn heads.
With Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation and Chad Billingsley off to a 2-0 start following the Dodgers’ 4-1 victory on Wednesday, Los Angeles will be a major factor provided the rest of the starters support the top two.
The Pirates mustered only nine runs in their first five games but managed to win twice because of their own solid pitching, which sports a 2.00 ERA. Pittsburgh, which played four straight one-run contests prior to Wednesday, hopes to have a little more success as it gets deeper into the Dodgers’ rotation and provide starter Jeff Karstens with ample run support in the process.
Karstens allowed five hits and a run in six innings and got a no-decision in the Pirates’ 2-1 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday. He is 0-2 with a 5.21 ERA in five career games lifetime against Los Angeles. Current Dodgers are 15-for-54 against Karstens, with Andre Ethier the toughest out at 4-for-11 with a homer and four RBIs.
Control problems plagued Capuano’s season opener against San Diego on Saturday when he walked five in 4 2/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 6-5 victory. He is 4-7 with a 5.99 ERA in 17 career games against Pittsburgh. Current Pirates are 14-for-60 against Capuano, who has had trouble getting Andrew McCutchen out (4-for-6).
1. Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, 84, will miss his third straight game Thursday because of illness. Scully missed Tuesday’s home opener for the only the second time in his 63 years with the Dodgers. The first was in 1977, when he was covering the Masters.
2. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp went 3-for-4 on Wednesday, but had his franchise record-tying nine game RBI streak stopped.
3. Los Angeles first baseman James Loney is 0-for-16.
MLB BASEBALL PREDICTION: Dodgers 5, Pittsburgh 2
andrew mccutchen - chad billingsley - chris capuano - clayton kershaw - dodger stadium - james loney - jeff karstens - los angeles dodgers - matt kemp - pittsburgh pirates