Sunday, July 26, 2009

Series Preview - Los Angeles

The Cardinals start a 7-game home stand with 4 against their old nemesis, and current best team in baseball, the Dodgers. St Louis took 4 of 6 from Los Angeles last year, winning both series 2-1.

Mostly well-known tidbit: St Louis leads the all time series (at least, since 1901) 946-917. Since the Dodgers moved to LA, however, they lead the all-time series 305-303. The Dodger franchise has won (since 1903) 18 NL pennants, but only 6 World Championships.

Can you name the numbers retired by the Dodgers franchise?

Current snapshot

St Louis: 53-48, 2nd NL Central, 0.5 games behind Chicago. Matt Holliday (7-11, 3 RBI) and Julio Lugo (8-14, HR, 2 RBI) are smoking hot; unfortunately the bullpen (6 1/3 IP, 12ER the last 2 games) are not.

Los Angeles: 62-36, 1st NL West, 8 games ahead of Colorado. They have the second best road record in the league (behind Philadelphia). 6-4 since the break, all at home.

Pitching match-ups

27 July: Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.45) vs Carpenter. Randy Wolf is 2-1 in July with a 2.81 ERA. The Dodgers are 2-2 in his starts this month. Wolf’s two wins were blowouts at New York and Cincinnati; the 2 losses were at the Padres (which isn’t too surprising, as he pitched for them part of last season) and against Houston (the other team he pitched for last year).

Wolf is 3-4 in 9 career starts against the Cardinals. He’s never won in St Louis. His last start in the Gateway city was 19 July 08 (as a Padre), when he went 5 2/3 and gave up 6 runs (4 earned). His last start overall against the Cardinals was 29 August 08 (as an Astro), when he went 6, allowed 2 runs (1 earned) and won 3-2.

Wolf has never squared off against Carpenter. AP (5-14, 4 RBI) and Holliday (4-14, HR, 5 RBI) have had the most success against him (min 10 PA). DeRosa is only 6-31 against him.

Carpenter? 1.86 ERA this month. Just tearing it up. Should have won the 22 July game against Houston. He’s never lost to the Dodgers (3-0 in 4 starts); his last start was the ND on August 5 last year (5 shutout innings). That was his second start back from the DL. No Dodger is hitting over .300 career against him, not even Manny, although Manny is hitting .292 (7-24, 2 HR).

28 July: Chad Billingsley (10-5, 3.72) vs Wainwright. Billingsley won his last start against the Reds 6-2. The team is 3-1 in his starts in July, but Billingsley hasn’t pitched all that well this month overall; opponents have a .344 OBP off him, and he’s surrendered 4 HR. Granted, his 5 out, 6 ER effort against Houston has skewed these statistics a little bit, but his start against Milwaukee (5 IP, 5 ER) wasn’t all that good either.

Billingsley’s never beaten the Cardinals (3 starts, 0-1, other 2 ND the team eventually lost). His last start was that 5 Aug 08 game opposite Carpenter; he went 6, gave up 1 ER, and didn’t figure in the decision. He’s also never faced Wainwright.

Current Cardinals are hitting .262 against him (11-42) and have a .380 OBP. Matt Holliday has only 4 hits in 16 AB, but three of them are home runs. Mark DeRosa has also homered in 6 plate appearances.

Wainwright just keeps rolling along. He got credit for a complete game in Thursday’s 6 inning win over the Nationals. He hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in a start since his 21 June game in Kansas City; the team is 4-1 in his starts since that day.

Adam’s started 3 games against the Dodgers, and is 1-2. In his only start at home vs LA, he hooked up with Brad Penny for 8 shutout innings but lost 2-1 when James Loney homered with one on in the ninth. Current Dodgers are hitting .257 with a .316 OBP, led by Russell Martin (5-8) and Rafael Furcal (5-9). Manny Ramirez has not faced Adam.

Statistical Oddity: James Loney’s lone hit off Wainwright is that home run. It’s also the only time he’s reached base against Adam.

29 July: Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.96) vs Piniero? Kershaw had won his last 3 starts before his ND Thursday vs Florida. He leads the NL in walks, making him this series’ winner of the ‘be patient at the plate when facing him’ sweepstakes. Despite all the walks (he’s surrendered 17 hits and 16 walks this month), his ERA is 0.90 in July and opponents are reaching base overall at a .284 clip.

In his short career he’s faced the Cardinals twice, once at Chavez Ravine and once on the banks of the Mississippi. He’s 1-0. The win came in St Louis last August 7 (he beat Lohse). Cardinal hitters are batting .233 combined against him, and no one has more than 9 plate appearances opposing him. Holliday (him again. I’m starting to like that trade a little bit) is 3-7 with 2 walks. AP - 2-4 with a double. Brendan Ryan is 1-2.

He’s not faced Joel Piniero

I’ve got Piniero penciled in here because it’s his turn in the rotation, although officially says the starter is TBD. Joel pitched great against the Phillies on Friday and evened his record. He’s faced the Dodgers twice and won both times, most recently last 6 Aug at home.

A lot of guys on the Dodgers have hit him really well, led by Manny (13-29, 4 HR), Casey Blake (8-18 with a HR) and Juan Castro (4-9, 2B and 3B).

30 July: Hiroki Kuroda (3-5, 4.57)? vs Lohse. As with Piniero above, no Dodger starter has been named for the finale (at least, according to The start Kershaw is to get would actually be Kuroda’s spot in the rotation, so I’ve slid him in here. The other option would be Jason Schmidt.

You can see the first 3 Dodger starters are very solid, which is expected given their overall record. Kuroda hasn’t been up to that standard. He spent most of the first 2 months this season on the DL. That said, the team is 4-1 when he starts this month, even though he hasn’t gotten a decision since his loss to the Mets on 8 July. For the month his ERA is a robust 6.14, and hitters are batting .284 against him.

Not only has he not faced Lohse, he’s never faced the Cardinals.

Lohse left after 4 innings in Saturday’s game, having thrown 90 pitches. Not sure what to make of that. There aren’t any reports out there regarding his health following that short outing, at least, none that I’ve found. In his career he’s 1-2 in 3 starts against LA, and his lone start in St Louis against them was last 7 August (lost 4-1).

There’s a lot of Dodgers who like to hit against Lohse, including Manny (5-12, 2 HR) and Blake (2 HR); Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier, Rafael Furcal, and Orlando Hudson all carry .350 or better career marks against Lohse.

Prognosis/prediction. The Cardinal bullpen is exhausted, so it’s good their two best two pitchers start this series. I think it reasonable to expect Carp and Wainwright to continue rolling against the Dodgers. Piniero is due for a clunker, but we’ll hope it’s another day. Because this is the best team in baseball, we’ll predict a split; however, 3 of 4 is definitely in play. A sweep, although nice, probably isn’t.

Go Cards!

Dodger retired numbers: 1 (Pee Wee Reese), 2 (Tommy Lasorda), 4 (Duke Snider), 19 (Jim Gilliam), 20 (Don Sutton), 24 (Walter Alston), 32 (Sandy Koufax), 39 (Roy Campanella), 42 (Jackie Robinson), and 53 (Don Drysdale). All but Jim Gilliam are in the Hall of Fame.

1 comment:

gforce said...

Not sure what to make of JP missing from Wednesday myself. I'm hopeful it will all be cleared up by the time we get together for UCB night.