The Dodgers (62-53) are two and a half games out of the second wild card spot, which currently belongs to the Pirates. Wins for L.A. not only bring them closer to the Pirates, but could elevate them in the race for the NL West title.
Pittsburgh (64-50) keeps proving they are for real, but this series should show that in a big way. The Dodgers swept a three-game series with the Pirates in April when L.A. was at its best; since then the Dodgers have added some offensive and pitching help.
The Pirates didn't make a big splash at the trade deadline, though they did acquire former All-Star Gaby Sanchez from the Miami Marlins. The Bucs do have MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen, however, and seem to have found a new young star in the aptly-named Starling Marte.
This series is a golden opportunity for the Dodgers to show they will contend. It could go a long way in determining the outcome of the season, which is strange to say given that a Dodgers / Pirates series hasn't mattered in years.