Don't let the similar records fool you. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates, who open a three-game series Tuesday at PNC Park, have been heading in opposite directions.
The Dodgers (29-30) are 12-4 since slogging through a six-game losing streak in mid-May, including a three-game sweep of the Rockies in Colorado during the weekend. The series culminated in a 10-7 win in the finale after trailing 6-1.
The Pirates (30-29) have lost 12 of their past 16, went 3-7 on a recent stretch against National League Central contenders and just dropped three of four in St. Louis during the weekend, including two Cardinals comeback walk-off wins and a shutout win in which Michael Wacha nearly threw a no-hitter.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle turned philosophical.
"Winning is always better than losing. Getting any hits is better than getting no hits. Always," he said after Sunday's 5-0 throttling.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pointed at something more concrete -- the performance of his bullpen with injuries among his starters. Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Rye and Kenta Maeda are on the disabled list.
Relievers picked up all three wins against the Rockies.
"They were the star of the series," Roberts said.
"It's a sign of the way our roster is constructed. Score late, get to the starter, get into the 'pen and score runs late. That's indicative of what we did last year (en route to the NL pennant). Shorten the game."
The starting matchup in the series opener, which is the first meeting between the clubs this season, features Los Angeles right-hander Ross Stripling (3-1, 1.68 ERA) against Pittsburgh right-hander Joe Musgrove (2-0, 0.64).
Stripling is one of the Los Angeles pitchers pressed into starting duty who is healthy and thriving.
In his last outing, on Wednesday against Philadelphia, he gave up one run and four hits and struck out nine in seven innings of an 8-2 win.
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