Dodgers Lineup vs. St. LouisM.Ellis 4 Ethier 9 Kemp 8 Gonzalez 3 Ramirez 6 Victorino 7 Cruz 5 Ellis 2 Beckett 1
The punch-less Dodgers return home for the biggest series of the season. The Dodgers come home after losing four out of five on their current road-trip, to basically sink their season. The Dodgers amazingly are only one game behind the Cardinals for the second wild card. The only reason they are still in contention is because the Cardinals and Pirates are also tanking their seasons away. The Dodgers, Cardinals, and Pirates are in a fierce competition as to who can sink the fastest. The Dodgers will look to continue to tank their season with more terrible hitting. The Dodgers scored a grand total of seven runs in the five games on the road trip. Truly pathetic.
Manager Don Mattingly finally changes the lineup around a little bit for the first time after weeks of losery. Shane Victorino is finally moved out of the number two spot, since he is not getting on base at all. Andre Ethier is bumped up into the two spot. Of course, A.J. Ellis, and Luis Cruz are still buried at the bottom of the order. But hey baby steps right?
For some weird reason, the Dodgers get an extra series against the Cardinals this year. The Dodgers play the RedBirds 11 times this season. Very weird schedule. The Dodgers hold the season series edge 4-3. After the four game set with the Cardinals, the Dodgers will embark on their final road trip of 2012, before they retire to the golf courses for the winter.
The Cardinals (75-68) have lost seven of their last ten games, and are sitting in second place in the NL Central, 11.5 games behind the Reds. The Pirates have lost eight of ten. Because of the top three teams playing so poorly, two more teams have crept back into the NL Wild Card race. It’s almost as if nobody wants to win a one game playoff in Atlanta against Tim Hudson? Let’s take a look at the standings.
Cardinals 75-68 –
Dodgers 74-69 1
Pirates 72-70 2
Philadelphia 72-71 3
Milwaukee 72-71 3
Arizona 71-72 4
Milwaukee and Philadelphia are only three games back now, and right behind the Pirates. Arizona is also still in it, sitting only four games back. There is only one other game scheduled in the National league today. The Phillies take on Houston in the only other Senior Circuit tilt. Tonight, the Dodgers will give the ball to Josh Beckett, while the Cardinals will counter with right hander Lance Lynn.
Beckett hasn’t faced the Cardinals since he last pitched for the Marlins in 2005. Beckett is 2-2 with a 5.11 ERA against the Cardinals. Beckett has been decent since coming to the Dodgers. The veteran right hander has only allowed eight earned runs in 18 innings. He has posted a 1-2 record, a 3.86 ERA, and has whiffed 18 batters, and walked seven In Blue. Not bad at all. Only three current Cardinals have faced Beckett before. Carlos Beltran is hitting only .200 (3 for 15). Lance Berkman is hitting .250 (6 for 24) with a home run. However Berkman is out for the season with injury. Matt Holiday is 7 for 20, (.350), with a home run. That’s all. Beckett is 6-13 overall, and is 1-2 with the Dodgers.
The Cardinals will counter with Lance Lynn. The Cardinals have also been hit hard with the injury bug this year. Former Dodger Rafael Furcal is out for the year, as is Lance Berkman. Starter Jake Westbrook also got hurt, and the Cardinals have to use Lynn in his spot. Remember Lance Lynn? He got off to the great start, and everyone was talking about him being the early season front runner for the Cy Young? Well a funny thing happened on the way to the Cy Young. Lynn began the year replacing injured pitcher Chris Carpenter. Lynn started out strong winning his first six games, but began to fade. Lynn’s last start was on August 23, and he lasted only two frames. He was put back into the bullpen, but when Westbrook went down, Lynn was inserted back into the rotation.
Lynn is 14-7 this season, with a 4.04 ERA. Lynn has whiffed 150, and walked 57 in 151 innings pitched. Lynn has no record against the Dodgers. No Dodger has had more than four at-bats against Lynn. The Dodgers are 2 for 15 against the RedBird righty, with a .133 average. Lynn throws five different pitches. He throws a two-seamer, a four –seamer, curveball, changeup, and slider.
Check in with us later, as I’ll have a special conversation with the enemy post with Daniel Shoptaw of Cardinal70.com. Daniel and I will be discussing the upcoming Cardinals/Dodgers series. We’ll also be discussing the wild card race, and who we think has the advantage down the stretch.
I’m pretty burned out from all of this mindless losing. I have no confidence in this team right now. After the game last night, the Prime Ticket cameras showed A.J. Ellis sitting in the dugout with his head in his hands. He looked like he was crying. After the team’s fifth loss in six games, I have no more tears left myself. Things are unraveling quickly. Fans are getting testy, and the team is deteriorating faster than my high school math scores. It’s very sad to see. The Dodgers need to turn things around quickly, and get a win to recover morale. The Dodgers have to win three of four in this series at minimum. A split does them no good. Otherwise, I hope everyone has made their golf course reservations for October.
First pitch is tonight at 7:10. Check in with us after the game for our postgame recap and analysis. Go Blue!