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Gamethread: Williams tries to stop slide, salvage Dodgers series

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Standing in fourth place, 8 games out of first with only 36 left to play, the Pirates’ season is on life support. Despite scoring 5 or more runs in every game for the last week, the pitching has been worse as they’ve only won two of those games.

Wednesday night rookie right-hander Trevor Williams (5-6, 4.71) pitches for some measure of studly pride against a Dodgers team which is winning at an historic pace and is 12 games better than the next best team in the majors, the Houston Astros.

Williams allowed eight runs in three innings in his previous start vs the Cardinals, but before that had a string of 17 games with an ERA of 3.62. He’ll be opposed by 37 year old veteran left-hander Rich Hill (9-4, 3.54), who has averaged 10.7 strike outs per 9 innings in his 18 starts this year. Hill’s fastball is down to 89.2 mph, but he relies on his curve for 47% of his pitches.

David Freese returns to the Pirates’ lineup at third base, while Sean Rodriguez spells Adam Frazier in right. The Dodgers will start Logan Forsythe at third in place of Justin Turner, and will send five left-handers to bat against Williams. The Pirates will all bat from the right side to face Hill.

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DODGERS

1 R Chris Taylor, CF

2 L Kyle Seager, SS

3 L Curtis Granderson, LF

4 L Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

5 R Yasiel Puig, RF

6 L Chase Utley, 2B

7 R Logan Forsythe, 3B

8 R Austin Barnes, C

9 L Rich Hill, LHP

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PIRATES

1 R Starling Marte, LF

2 R Josh Harrison, 2B

3 R Andrew McCutchen, CF

4 S Josh Bell, 1B

5 R David Freese, 3B

6 R Sean Rodriguez, RF

7 R Jordy Mercer, SS

8 R Chris Stewart, C

9 R Trevor Williams, RHP