NL Showdown: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Ryan K

Every game matters and no one can verify that more than the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. Coming into the four-game series between the two teams, the Cardinals held a two-game lead over the Dodgers for the second wildcard spot. Fast forward a few days and three straight Dodgers’ wins and the Cardinals now find themselves out of a playoff seed and fighting to try to get back in.

They will have an opportunity to at least try to salvage one game and move back into a tie on Sunday when the Dodgers (82-67) travel to Busch Stadium to take on the Cardinals (81-68). Los Angeles will be sending Ross Stripling (8-3, 2.61 ERA) to the mound to take on AdamWainwright (1-3, 4.70 ERA) of St. Louis. First pitch is scheduled for 8:08 pm ET.

The money line for Sunday night’s game is set at the Los Angeles Dodgers -143 and the St. Louis Cardinals +133. The over/under on total runs scored stands at 8.5.

Playoffs Are Nice, A Division Title Would Be Better

While the Dodgers moved into the second wildcard spot, they have also moved into a virtual tie with the Colorado Rockies atop the NL West leaderboard. Only separated by a .001, the Dodgers are hoping to win the division and not have to worry about a play in game.

Looking for the sweep against the Cardinals on Sunday, they will turn to RossStripling. On the season, he is 8-3 with a 2.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and opponents are hitting .252 against him. In 113.2 innings he has 125 strikeouts, 18 walks and has allowed 15 home runs. In his last outing against the Reds, an 8-1 win, Stripling went 3.1 innings, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 4.

In a 17-4 route of the Cardinals on Saturday, Yasiel Puig had quite a game. He went 3 for 6 with 3 home runs and 7 runs batted in. Those three home runs now give him 21 on the season. In total, he is hitting .272/.333/.504 with a .837 OPS. He has 21 home runs, 58 runs batted in and have scored 56 runs. The red-hot bats of the Dodgers will try to keep it going on Sunday.

Cardinals Could Use Vintage Wainwright

After dropping the first three to the Dodgers, the Cardinals could really use a stopper right now. That use to be Adam Wainwright, but he hasn’t exactly been that pitcher over the last few years. The Cardinals, though, are hoping to that he can rekindle some of his old magic and give them a shot at winning on Sunday. This season, Wainwright is 1-3 in 5 starts with a 4.70 ERA, 1.74 WHIP and opponents are hitting .286 against him.

In 23 innings he has 18 strikeouts, 14 walks and has allowed 4 home runs. Making just his second start after an almost four-month time on the disabled list, Wainwright went 5 innings on Monday against the Pirates, giving up 4 earned runs and striking out 3.

It is amazing, as Matt Carpenter has turned cold so have the Cardinals. In the last 30 days, Carpenter is hitting just .245/.351/.383 with a .734 OPS. In that time he has just 2 home runs, 9 runs batted in and 19 runs scored. Once considered a frontrunner for the NL MVP award, he may be turning into just a bit of an afterthought unless he can get he and the Cardinals turned around quickly.

Dodgers Finish The Sweep

There is just not a lot to like for the Cardinals in this one. The Dodgers’ bats are about as hot as any team in baseball right now. It also doesn’t help that Adam Wainwright is far removed from his days of being an ace and really just doesn’t seem that effective right now. While I don’t think that it will be the 17-4 thrashing that the Dodgers gave the Cardinals on Saturday, I do think that they will probably win this one pretty easily. Take the Dodgers at -143.