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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, July 21 (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Dodgers (55-45) at Pittsburgh Pirates (52-46), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Los Angeles - Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44) Pittsburgh - Edinson Volquez (8-6, 3.65)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates look to stay hot at home on Monday night when they welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to PNC Park to kick off a three-game set.

The Pirates are eyeing a seventh straight win at home, a feat they last pulled off in 2008.

The Pirates (52-46), who are a season-best six games above .500, put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday with a 5-3 victory. Andrew McCutchen delivered the go-ahead single in the bottom of the seventh, and Neil Walker followed with a home run to provide the final margin. Starter Jeff Locke went six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits for a no-decision.

Pittsburgh currently stands in third place in a tight National League Central Division, 1 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers (55-45) share the NL West lead with San Francisco, and their 30-21 road record is the best in the majors. However, the team also has a couple of key regulars dealing with left hand injuries. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez took a fastball on the forearm in the ninth inning of Sunday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. X-rays were negative, although Ramirez will be re-evaluated early this week and could miss some time.

One night earlier, All-Star outfielder Yasiel Puig was plunked in the left hand and had to leave the game early. His X-rays also came back negative, but Puig has not yet been cleared to return to baseball activities and was unavailable to pinch-hit on Sunday.

"He hit the next time up and then after that is when (trainer) Stan [Conte] came to me and said it was getting sore," manager Don Mattingly said. "That's when we knew he wasn't going to be able to hit the next time.

"We'll be cautious at this point. We think it's going to be OK."

The Dodgers can ill-afford to miss both players for an extended period, considering the offense has plated just 16 runs over the last eight games.

On Sunday, the Dodgers avoided being dealt a three-game sweep in St. Louis with a 4-3 victory. Clayton Kershaw gave up three runs over seven innings, as he struck out eight and walked only one batter. Adrian Gonzalez broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth with a two-out single off Trevor Rosenthal.

The Dodgers will turn to turn to Hyun-Jin Ryu to start Monday's series opener. Ryu's last start came before the All-Star break on July 13, when he tossed six scoreless frames against San Diego and yielded just only two hits and no walks to go along with 10 strikeouts.

Edinson Volquez gets the nod for Pittsburgh. The right-hander has won each of his last four starts with a 0.90 ERA during that span. He is coming off his second career complete game against St. Louis on July 10, as he allowed just one run on six hits.

"When he gets past the fifth, he smells the finish," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It isn't like he's looking to give you five or six."

The Pirates took three of four from the Dodgers in L.A. from May 29-June 1.

07/21 10:28:38 ET