It took a comeback, but the LA Dodgers were able to take game one of their series against the Pirates last night. We’ll take a look at game two tonight before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
The Dodgers lineup had to come to the rescue last night after starter Noah Syndergaard let up seven runs across four innings. LA was able to chip away as the game went on, as they scored six runs from the fifth inning to the ninth. The biggest hit, however, came from Chris Taylor, whose three-run home run in the eighth inning gave the Dodgers the lead for the first time since the second inning.
Tonight the Dodgers will hand the ball to Tony Gonsolin for his first start of the season. The righty sprained his ankle during spring training, so he has only made one rehab start heading into tonight. Gonsolin is expected to throw around four innings tonight as he still ramps up into form, as the Dodgers are hoping he can make similar contributions to the ones he made last season. In 24 starts last season, Gonsolin went 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA.
In his first start back, the righty will face a Pirates team that had won seven games entering last night. Pittsburgh’s lineup has been imposing this season as they rank second in hard-hit percentage, seventh in OPS, and 10th in average runs per game. Andrew McCutchcen’s resurgence since putting a Pirates jersey back on has been impressive, and he continued his strong start to the campaign last night by hitting his fifth home run of the year.
On the mound tonight for the Pirates, who rank tenth in ERA, will be Roansy Contreras. The righty will be making his fifth start of the year, as he enters tonight with 21.7 innings and a 4.57 ERA to go along with 19 strikeouts and ten walks. Contreras comes into tonight off his best start of the season, where he threw 6 ⅔ innings with eight strikeouts and one earned run allowed.
The Dodgers are currently priced at (-140) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. Pittsburgh’s hot start has been fun to watch, but the Dodgers showed why they should never be counted out last night. In the previous 11 meetings between these two teams in Pittsburgh, the Dodgers are 9-2, and tonight they get back one of the game's best starters from last season.
Gonsolin made one start against the Pirates last season, and he threw five innings with five strikeouts and just one hit allowed. The Dodgers' bullpen has been a bit rocky this season, but last night, they came in after four innings and put together five scoreless innings. After two straight strong bullpen performances, I trust they can do it again tonight.
Roansy Contreras has made some strong starts this season, but he is still in the 34th percentile in walk percentage and 43rd percentile in average exit velocity. The righty has struggled against lefties this season, as they are hitting .317 off him with four strikeouts and four walks, which doesn’t bode well against the Dodgers, who had five lefties in their lineup last night. Contreras is slider dominant, but his second most thrown pitch, the four-seam fastball, has warranted a .504 expected slugging percentage.
Los Angeles Dodgers (-140)