As the Pirates face one more Cy Young Award winner in an impressive parade of them for one six-game homestand, they'll counter with a talented newbie to the Major Leagues on Sunday.
In the finale of their three-game series with the Dodgers, the Pirates will have 2011 No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole making his second Major League start, meeting Zack Greinke -- the fourth Cy Young winner the Pirates have faced this week.
So far, the Pirates are 2-1 against them, having defeated Barry Zito (American League 2002) and Tim Lincecum (National League 2008, 2009) of the Giants before the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (NL 2011) came out on top Saturday to set up a rubber match on Sunday.
One more Cy Young winner to go.
"That is a great challenge," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sometimes, though, it depends when they won the Cy Young."
Greinke, who won the AL award in 2009 while with Kansas City, will be the second award-winning starter Cole has faced in his two career starts, having defeated Lincecum in his debut Tuesday. Cole allowed two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to make his first start a winning one.
As the Dodgers prepare to face the UCLA product, they're staring at a blank slate, a pitcher they know has huge talent and have seen on video, but a pitcher they haven't faced before.
"It's always difficult seeing a guy for the first time," said Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "For me, I'd rather face the best pitcher in baseball if I've seen him than a guy for the first time. You don't have to give it away, but you kind of have to give in to the first at-bat to figure out how the ball looks out of his hand."
Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of Cole: "I watched him pitch the other day. Looks like he's got a big arm. Reminds me of [the Mets' Matt] Harvey a little bit. Power stuff, the young guns are firing bullets up there."
Greinke, of course, will be making his first start since Tuesday's eventful outing at Dodger Stadium, when the D-backs' Ian Kennedy hit him with a pitch in the seventh inning to spark a melee on the field that led to eight suspensions and 12 fines.
Dodgers: Hanley working his way back
If the Dodgers and Mattingly approach Hanley Ramirez's return to action similar to others, it's likely he'll be back in the lineup Sunday after getting a day on Saturday to rest as he comes back from a hamstring injury.
Mattingly says Ramirez might not be all the way back in terms of being able to run at full speed, but he can hit and he can field. Ramirez has started just three games since coming off the DL on June 4.
"I don't think he's going to be trying to steal bags, but we do know he can hit, play the field," Mattingly said. "He's not running at 100 percent."
• The Dodgers are now 67-25 against the Pirates since 2001, which remains by far their best winning percentage against any team during that span (.728).
Pirates: Decision time on Marte
Starling Marte, who missed his third straight game with discomfort in his left rib-cage area, will either be ready to play by Monday or will be headed to the disabled list so the Pirates can have a full complement of players, Hurdle said.
"We're trying to give [Marte] the same three-five days we've given other players who have gone down, then we have to do what's best for the ball club," Hurdle said.
• The current members of the Pirates' rotation, which had an influx of rookies with the arrival of Cole and Saturday starter Brandon Cumpton, have accounted for just 24 of the Pirates' starts through 68 games.
• Before Saturday's loss, the Pirates reached the 40-win level in 67 games -- the fewest games to reach 40 since the 1991 team did so in 64.
• After Sunday's finale, the Pirates head on the road to face an NL Central rival in the Cincinnati Reds starting Monday, while the Dodgers continue their travels with a historic trip to Yankee Stadium for their first regular-season series there, a two-gamer starting Tuesday.
• The Dodgers clinched the season series over the Pirates with Saturday's victory, upping their mark against Pittsburgh to 4-1 on the season with one game remaining.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.