Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the most modest teams in the Major Leagues, they did in Los Angeles what many would have considered impossible: beat the Dodgers in each of the three games of their series at Dodger Stadium.
This Wednesday, the Pirates beat the Dodgers 8-4 led by two big hits from Dominican rookie Rodolfo Castro, who entered the game in the final innings, and thus Pittsburgh managed to complete the three-game sweep against the one considered the strongest team in the National League and perhaps in all of MLB.
The Pirates hadn’t completed a sweep of Los Angeles since 2000, and in fact no one had cleaned out the Dodgers at home in a three-game series since 2018, when the Cardinals did it of St.Louis.
Castro hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning hitting right and a two-run single in the ninth hitting left to seal the road victory.
The buccaneers had won 6-5 on Monday and 5-3 on Tuesday, games in which They did damage against two of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues: Walker Buehler and Julio Urías.
The Mexican Urías, who has been harmed this season by poor offensive support from his team, the Pirates (22-27) spoiled the night of his figure bobble headhanded out to fans at the stadium.
Pittsburgh’s payroll is 18% that of the Dodgers
Games in baseball aren’t won by name or salary, but to better gauge the kind of surprise this series has been, a quick look at the numbers.
The Pirates’ 26-player payroll is $35.5 million, which is just 18% of the Dodgers’ $197.2 million payroll, the most robust of the Major Leagues. Pittsburgh’s total payroll this year, including pending transactions, is $68.9 million while LA’s is $259 million, according to Spotrac.
But the Pirates were undeterred and played excellent baseball: tight pitching, great defensive plays and timely hitting all three nights in Los Angeles. The Dodgers, who often display those qualities, were outplayed across the board.
An example was what happened on Wednesday in the seventh inning. With the score 3-2 in favor of Pittsburgh, the Dodgers put men on second and third with no outs. But Freddie Freeman was dominated on a grounder and then the Pirates had a spectacular double play when runner Gavin Lux was thrown out at the plate attempting to step on Trea Turner’s fly ball.
Perhaps the only cause for joy for the Dodgers is that Mookie Betts, who had a fantastic month of May, started June the same way and hit his 16th home run to cement himself as the league leader.
The Dodgers, now 33-17, will try to change their fortunes against someone other than the Pirates, who won five of their six meetings this season.. And the rival in turn is the New York Mets, who arrive at Dodger Stadium this Thursday with the best record on the circuit (35-17).