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Hill, Williams duel as Dodgers visit Pirates

MLB.com

Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Williams will start for the Pirates against Dodgers lefty Rich Hill in Wednesday's third game of the four-game series.

After beginning the season in the bullpen, Williams entered the rotation on May 8 to fill in for Jameson Taillon, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer that day. Williams' first start came against the Dodgers, who put up eight runs (six earned) on seven hits in three innings against the rookie right-hander.

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Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Williams will start for the Pirates against Dodgers lefty Rich Hill in Wednesday's third game of the four-game series.

After beginning the season in the bullpen, Williams entered the rotation on May 8 to fill in for Jameson Taillon, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer that day. Williams' first start came against the Dodgers, who put up eight runs (six earned) on seven hits in three innings against the rookie right-hander.

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In 17 starts between that ugly outing and his most recent start, Williams has posted a 3.62 ERA and may have pitched even better than that number indicates, holding opposing hitters to a .243/.305/.354 slash line and allowing only five homers in 97 innings. But his last start was his worst since that one at Dodger Stadium, as he surrendered eight runs (all earned) on seven hits, including three homers, over three-plus innings against the Cardinals at PNC Park.

Hill is 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA in eight career starts against the Pirates, and he's coming off a five-inning win over the Tigers on Friday in Detroit, when he allowed three runs -- two in the first.

Three things to know about this game

• Although Cody Bellinger is now on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has no shortage of players to call on. Adrian Gonzalez will continue to get playing time at first base, while Curtis Granderson will see extended action in left field, Bellinger's other position. Chris Taylor has become the every day center fielder, with Yasiel Puig in left.

• The Dodgers' roster merry-go-round brought Josh Ravin back to the bullpen one day after Roberts used seven relievers in Monday night's 12-inning win. Ravin will get first call as the long man, while Ross Stripling will likely be held back to start Saturday in place of Alex Wood, who went on the DL.

• Hill has allowed all 13 of his home runs with the bases empty this season, but he performs significantly better with runners in scoring position. Among pitchers who have faced 75 batters in those situations, his .172 expected average allowed -- based on the quality of contact against him, plus his actual strikeouts -- ranks third lowest.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.