The Los Angeles Dodgers have stars Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are doing just fine with Tucupita Marcano.
Marcano, 22, has played in just 31 major league games, but he has delivered the first two home runs of his career in the first two games of the Pirates’ current three-game road series against the Dodgers.
In winning both Monday and Tuesday at Los Angeles, the Pirates have four victories over the Dodgers to seal the six-game season series. They will see each other for the last time Wednesday night.
It is the first time the Pirates got the best of the Dodgers over a season since 2016, when they won five of seven games.
In addition to a home run Monday against Walker Buehler and another Tuesday off Julio Urias, Marcano has a hit in five of his first six games with the Pirates.
“It really is a young, kind of gritty group,” Pirates closer David Bednar said. “Everybody’s still trying to establish themselves, so everybody’s kind of hungry, and just really cherishes those opportunities to show that they belong. I think we’ve got a big group of guys that are like that.”
Bednar blew the save attempt Monday but returned for a second inning to pick up the victory in the Pirates’ comeback. He did not pitch Tuesday, with Wil Crowe earning his second save instead.
Pittsburgh will send left-hander Jose Quintana (1-2, 2.15 ERA) to the mound Wednesday. The veteran had a 1.33 ERA in five May starts (27 innings), including six scoreless innings May 9 against the Dodgers to give him his lone win for the Pirates.
“We have Quintana (Wednesday), who has given us fits,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We have to find a way to figure him out.”
In 10 appearances (seven starts) against the Dodgers, Quintana is 2-1 with a 1.81 ERA.
After he delivered one of the best offensive months in Dodgers franchise history, Betts will hit the reset button while heading into June and see if he can do it all again.
Betts put himself in the company of Dodgers legends over 28 games in May. He tied Roy Campanella (1953) for the most May home runs in Dodgers history with 12. He also had a May-record 22 extra-base hits after passing Jackie Robinson’s record of 21 for the month set in 1949.
“Over the course of this stretch, the pace that he is on now, I haven’t seen him this good,” Roberts said of Betts, who is in his third season in Los Angeles. “Even talking to guys who saw him in Boston for stretches, this is as good as he has been outside of probably his MVP year (of 2018).”
In addition, the Dodgers’ Turner will head into June on a 23-game hitting streak after hitting a home run among his two hits Tuesday. But those two stars could not prevent the Dodgers from going 1-4 against the Pirates in May.
The Dodgers will send right-hander Mitch White (1-0, 4.60) to the mound Wednesday. White, who is making his third consecutive start in the rotation, is coming off his best outing of the season when he pitched four scoreless innings at Arizona on Thursday.
–Field Level Media