Dodgers @ Pirates June 15, 2013: Kershaw vs… Wait, Who?

June 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

Once again, I’m torn between “lineups really don’t matter all that much” and “oh good, A.J. Ellis is hitting eighth and will see fewer at-bats than Skip Schumaker or Mark Ellis or Juan Uribe.” It doesn’t matter. I know it doesn’t matter. Yet… the idea is sure hard to swallow.

Yasiel Puig gets his first start hitting second, as Don Mattingly attempts to solve the eternal problem of “should I hit Puig where no one will drive him in or where he will have no one to drive in?” That’s one of those questions where there’s probably not really a right answer, at least insomuch as giving Schumaker the opportunity to hit most often doesn’t seem like a great idea. Then again, the options are so limited at this point; sure, I’d probably prefer to have seen Alex Castellanos get a shot, but I also can’t say that it’s enough of a difference that I can really get invested in that.

Dodgers
Pirates
LF
Schumaker
LF
Presley
RF
Puig
SS
Mercer
1B
Gonzalez
CF
McCutchen
SS
Ramirez
1B
Sanchez
CF
Ethier
C
Martin
2B
M.Ellis
2B
Walker
3B
Uribe
3B
Alvarez
C
A.Ellis
RF
Inge
P
Kershaw
P
Cumpton

In the meantime, the Dodgers face a pitcher who is apparently named “Brandon Cumpton,” making his debut not only in the majors but in my consciousness.  The 24-year-old righty was a 9th round pick out of Georgia Tech in 2010, and based on unimpressive strikeout numbers in the minors, I’m guessing he gets by through relying heavily on his defense.

That seems to be confirmed by scouting reports from Pirates Prospects, who rated him as Pittsburgh’s #46 prospect…

Cumpton currently has a 3.31 ERA in 65.1 innings with Indianapolis, along with a 6.8 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 ratio. He got off to a rough start this year after a return to Altoona, giving up eight earned runs in 9.2 innings over his first two starts. Cumpton was promoted to Indianapolis more out of need than merit, due to the early season injury problems in Pittsburgh taking pitchers from Indianapolis. His first start with the Indians was rough, with four earned runs in 5.1 innings. Since then he’s been outstanding, with a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings over ten starts, along with a 47:19 K/BB ratio. The most impressive thing is that he’s got a 3:1 GO/AO ratio this year in Indianapolis, which will play well with the infield defense in Pittsburgh.

…and Bucs Dugout:

Cumpton obviously isn’t a future star, but he does a reasonable job limiting walks, and he keeps the ball on the ground. His ceiling is probably that of a back-of-the-rotation starter, and the Pirates probably would have preferred to leave him in the minors a while longer, but obviously, they’re running out of choices, and Cumpton’s ground-ball tendencies make him unlikely to be a disaster.

If that sounds exactly like the kind of guy who is probably going to shut the Dodgers down given that they haven’t seen him before, congratulations, you’ve been paying attention. No pressure though, kid, you only have to face Clayton Kershaw in your major league debut. Although when I say “kid”, Cumpton is only about eight months younger than Kershaw kid. Daily reminder that Clayton Kershaw is awesome, I guess.

Starling Marte remains out for Pittsburgh with a strained rib cage and yes, that is Brandon Inge playing right field. As noted by Eric Stephen, Inge is making his fourth start there this season, after not having played the corner since 2004 with Detroit.

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