LOS ANGELES -- The Pittsburgh Pirates resume their chase in the National League wild-card race when they clash with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second game of their three-game series Saturday at Dodger Stadium.
Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole (7-7, 2.94 ERA) will face Los Angeles' Brandon McCarthy (2-2, 3.00 ERA) as the Pirates try to catch the Miami Marlins for the second wild-card spot. The Pirates closed to within a game of the Marlins after beating the Dodgers 5-1 on Friday behind home runs by Andrew McCutchen and Jordy Mercer.
The Dodgers (64-51), who lead the wild-card race, remain a game back of the San Francisco Giants for the top spot in the National League West.
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Cole will be looking to bounce back from a 7-3 setback to the Cincinnati Reds last Sunday, particularly since he has experienced much success against the National League West. Cole, who starred at UCLA, is 13-3 in 19 career starts against the NL West, including wins in his last four decisions. Cole is 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA in eight starts on the road this season.
Against the Dodgers, Cole is 3-0 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts. At Dodger Stadium, Cole is 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA.
Joc Pederson leads the Dodgers with a .500 batting average in only four at-bats.
McCarthy had trouble locating his fastball in Sunday's no-decision against the Boston Red Sox. McCarthy walked five for the second straight outing, threw two wild pitches and allowed two runs on hits in 3 2/3 innings. In his last three starts, McCarthy is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA.
McCarthy and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt worked on his mechanics this week and believe they solved some of his problems.
"We feel confident, and he feels confident, to make that start on Saturday," manager Dave Roberts said.
McCarthy will need a solid performance to cool off the Pirates, who have defeated the Dodgers in five of their six meetings this season. McCarthy will also need to slow McCutchen, who has feasted on Los Angeles pitching.
McCutchen, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Friday, is 8-of-16 (.500) with two homers in his last seven games at Dodger Stadium. McCutchen is hitting .412 with three home runs and six RBIs in five games against the Dodgers, four of those Pittsburgh wins.
"Andrew had a very solid game, got a good swing off of the plate. Good to see," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's worked hard, he had some good swings (Friday), liked the way he swung the bat, liked the way he attacked the zone to drive the ball.
"Any time a player can square up a ball here at Dodger Stadium and get it out to the opposite field it gets your attention. The ball doesn't carry well here at night."
In four games against the Pirates, McCarthy has a 1-2 mark with a 4.74 ERA with 15 strikeouts and seven walks. He hasn't faced them since July 3, 2014, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Although he hasn't given up any home runs, the Pirates are hitting .321 against him.