Dodgers Vs. Pirates: Bucs Change Rotation, A.J. Burnett To Start Thursday

There are three games to play in the series before then, but the Los Angeles Dodgers will face a different pitcher in their series finale, as the Pittsburgh Pirates will start A.J. Burnett on Thursday afternoon. Burnett replaces James McDonald, who will instead start Friday for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates have been using a six-man rotation of late, and moving Burnett to Thursday allows him to pitch on regular four days rest. Burnett has been the Pirates' best pitcher this year at 14-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 21 starts.

Joe Blanton starts for the Dodgers on Thursday.

McDonald, the two-time minor league player of the year in the Dodgers organization who was traded to Pittsburgh in 2010, has been stellar this season at 10-5 with a 3.77 ERA, though he has allowed 30 runs in 31 innings since the All-Star break.

Manager Clint Hurdle said the day off would allow McDonald to have an extra side session with pitching coach (and a fellow former Dodger) Ray Searage, per Kristy Robinson of PiratesProspects.com.

For more news and notes on Dodgers baseball, be sure to read True Blue LA. For more news and notes on the Pirates, be sure to read Bucs Dugout and SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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