Dodgers Vs. Pirates: Aaron Harang, Jeff Karstens Face Off Monday

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 01: Jeff Karstens #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning on August 1, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

The Pirates will try to close the gap in the N.L. Central during a four-game set against the Dodgers.

After coming from behind to avoid a sweep by the Padres on Sunday, the Pirates continue their homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday.

The Pirates avoided falling further behind the Cincinnati Reds with the victory on Sunday, and now are 4.5 games behind Cincinnati in the N.L. Central race.

Aaron Harang faces Jeff Karstens Monday. Harang has lost his last two matchups, struggling against Colorado and Arizona, but has had a reasonably effective season overall, striking out 100 batters and walking 59 while posting a 3.80 ERA, even if he's gotten lucky on home runs allowed on fly balls.

In the rest of the four-game series, the Pirates will send Kevin Correia (who's still in the Pirates' rotation as other starting pitchers continue to struggle), Wandy Rodriguez, and former Dodger James McDonald. The Dodgers will send Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Joe Blanton.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Dodgers, there's True Blue LA.

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