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Dodgers Vs. Pirates Series Preview: Aaron Harang Starts Series Opener

The Los Angeles Dodgers look for their second straight win on Monday night as they open a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Dodgers are not only battling for the National League West, but also have Pittsburgh to contend with for the second wild card spot.

The Dodgers (62-53) begin play Monday one game behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, but also tied with the St. Louis Cardinals, two and a half games behind the Pirates (64-50) for the second wild card spot.

Pittsburgh is 3-4 on their current 11-game homestand, having split a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and lost two of three games to the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers began their 10-game road trip by winning two of three games in Miami against the Marlins.

Aaron Harang gets the start in the series opener for the Dodgers, looking for his ninth quality start in his last 13 outings. Though he has just one win in his last five starts, with a 4.75 ERA, 15 walks, and 22 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.

2012 Dodgers vs. Pirates
Apr 10: LA 2, Pittsburgh 1
Apr 11: LA 4, Pittsburgh 1
Apr 12: LA 3, Pittsburgh 2

Andrew McCutchen is having an MVP-type season for the Pirates, hitting .362 with 23 home runs while patrolling center field, but he's not alone. Second baseman Neil Walker, who on Sunday had his second five-hit game of the last five weeks, is hitting .348/.405/.659 with 11 doubles and 10 home runs in 36 games since July 1. The 25-year old McCutchen and the 26-year old Walker were joined recently by the 23-year old Starling Marte, who homered on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues. Marte is hitting .268/.303/.493 with two triples and four home runs in 17 games.

Jeff Karstens gets the start for the Pirates on Monday, looking to win his fifth straight decision. In his last seven starts, dating back to June 30, Karstens is 4-0 with a 2.80 ERA, with 11 walks and 37 strikeouts in 45 innings.

The Dodgers swept the Pirates in their second series of the season, from April 10-12 at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers only scored nine runs in the three games, but they only gave up four.

Hanley Ramirez had two hits on Sunday against the Marlins, driving in three runs, part of a happy return to Miami for the shortstop. Ramirez hit .462 (6-for-13) with five RBI during the three game series and so far as a Dodger has at least one hit in all eight road games as a Dodger.

The Dodgers are 28-13 all-time at PNC Park.

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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