Monday, August 17, 2009

Series Preview - Dodgers

The team’s last regular-season West Coast swing is this week, starting with 3 against the Dodgers. Cardinals took 3 of 4 from LA in St Louis this season.

Mostly well-known tidbit: The Cardinals are 76-80 against the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine since 1977. Which is odd, since I’m sure I’ve seen at a least 20 of those losses; I thought it was much worse.

Trivia Time: What happened on 28 August, 1977?

Current snapshot

St Louis: 67-52, 1st NL Central, 5 games ahead of Chicago. Cardinals have won 8 of 9, and flat out stole Sunday’s game from the Padres (despite some horrendous baserunning).

Los Angeles: 70-48, 1st NL West, 5 games ahead of Colorado. Things have gotten more interesting for the Dodgers since we last left them. Colorado has continued to play solid baseball, while the Dodgers have scuffled. They now sport a 5 game lead (down from 9 up on 25 July) and have lost 13 of 20. They hold the second best record in the NL to San Francisco.

Pitching Matchups:
17 August: Carpenter vs Charlie Haeger (0-0, 1.50).
As I write this, the Cardinals trail 2-1 in the seventh. I’ll not insult the readership by offering an analysis of a game 67% complete.

18 August: Boggs vs Chad Billingsley (11-6, 3.73). Billingsley has not faced the Cardinals in LA since 2006, his rookie season. He gave up 5 ER in 5 innings that July day and lost to the immortal Jason Marquis. He gave up 6 ER on 28 July in a 10-0 loss to the Cardinals in St Louis. Boggs has never faced the Dodgers

19 August: Wainwright vs Clayton Kershaw (8-7, 2.91). Kershaw hooked up with Pineiro in that classic duel on 29 July, considered by some as the best Cardinal game fo the year to date. He got a no decision, but threw 8 innings of 4-hit ball, walking 2 against 7 strikeouts. Set your TIVO accordingly. Kershaw has faced the Cardinals once at home; he went 6, gave up 2 ER, and didn’t get the decision. Wainwright battled for 7 innings against the Padres; sure he threw a shutout while he was in there, but it wasn’t easy.

Prognosis/prediction. Cardinals are playing very well. I don’t want to call the Dodgers desperate, but they’re falling back into a pennant race, and I’m sure they want to treat St Louis as rudely as they were treated the end of July. I am benefiting from watching the game tonight (Ankiel’s BOMB makes it 3-2 Cards in the seventh), but I don’t see the Cardinals winning this series. They’ll get one, then we’ll see.

Go Cards!

Answer: Steve Garvey tied a Major League record with 5 extra base hits in 5 at bats (3 doubles, 2 HR). Yes it was against the Cardinals (Bob Forsch started that day).

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