Dodgers vs. Cardinals: Series Preview, News, Notes & Analysis

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April 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) is greeted after being relieved in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
April 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) is greeted after being relieved in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dodgers are getting ready to open a three-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals with their ace on Tuesday night at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers and Cardinals have played 2,057 games since 1892. The boys in blue currently lead the all-time franchise series by three games (1,022-1,019-16). It’s incredible how many times these two teams have squared off and have a pretty even record.

The Cardinals currently sit in second place behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, a game and a half out of first. They have had success with their starting pitching, and the Dodgers will not catch a break by going up against their top three pitchers. Let’s take a look at the series pitching matchup, which I think will play a huge role in how this series shapes out.

Pitching Matchup:

Los Angeles Dodgers (26-19) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (22-19)

Tuesday – 5/23/17:  Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.15 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.78 ERA), 7:10 PT, ESPN

Wednesday – 5/24/17: Rich Hill (1-1, 2.77 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (4-2, 2.03 ERA) 7:10 PT, SNLA

Thursday – 5/24/17: Kenta Maeda (3-2, 5.03 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (2-1, 2.74 ERA) 7:10 PT, SNLA

Dodgers to Watch for:

The Dodgers have reinstated second baseman Logan Forsythe and have optioned RHP Josh Fields to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The everyday utility infielder for the Dodgers will find himself playing across the diamond at third base with starting third baseman Justin Turner on the DL nursing a hamstring injury.

Forsythe returns to the starting lineup for the first time since April 18th and is hitting in his familiar leadoff spot starting at the hot corner. Forsythe played in six games down at Rancho Cucamonga on a rehab assignment. He was 3 for 14 with three doubles and four walks. Before Forsythe’s toe injury, he was hitting .295 with three RBI in 14 games with the Dodgers. His presence will really help solidify the top of the Dodger order. But ever with Forsythe back, we still can’t have our offense to full strength.

Who’s Hot:

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May 21, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) is congratulated after scoring a run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Yasmani Grandal has been tearing the cover off the ball his last ten games. Grandal has a slash rate of .455/.486/.697 during that span. That is by far the best ten game stretch of his career and has boosted his average all the way up to .299 on the season. I predicted Yaz would have a breakout season, and he’s definitely having a breakout season early on. Grandal has moved into the middle of the order with Turner on the DL and will look to continue to produce runs.

Who’s Not:

Yasiel Puig who missed the last two games of the weekend series with back tightness only has two hits in his last 13 at-bats. Puig is hitting .207 with a pair of home runs in his last ten games. Puig has returned to the lineup Tuesday night and will look to get back on track. Puig has typically fared pretty well against the Cardinals, owning a .297 batting average in 37 at-bats.

Cardinals to Watch:

The Cardinals will be throwing their best arms against the Dodgers, starting on Tuesday night with their ace Lance Lynn. At 3.13 ERA their starting rotation leads the MLB with the lowest ERA this season. Their starting pitchers have done well limiting the number of home runs they allow, averaging 0.98 home runs per nine innings. That mark is good enough for second best in the MLB.

The Cardinals offense has been pretty inconsistent all season long, ranking 21st in the league with 186 runs scored. They have a team batting average of .261 and have a respectable 10-6 record on the road this season. Jedd Gyorko is currently leading their team in hitting with a .331 batting average, and Matt Carpenter leads the team with nine home runs and 27 RBI. Carpenter is currently slumping, however, hitting .143 his last five games.  

News & Analysis:

More from Dodgers Way

Adrian Gonzalez was activated before the weekend series against the Miami Marlins. Gonzalez is 4 for 12, including a pair of doubles on Sunday afternoon. It looks like the time off has helped out the old run producer as he’s been able to hit balls into the gap and have better at-bats. The club will need A-Gon to step up while they wait for their run producer, J.T. to return.

Andrew Toles had surgery to repair his right ACL today; he’s expected to be out for the year.

C/3B Prospect, Kyle Farmer, has been promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.

Next: Could the Dodgers Sign Bryce Harper?

This is going to be a fun final six games of the homestand. Per Joe Davis, the Dodgers have played MLB’s easiest schedule so far this season. It’s kind of difficult for me to believe that mark being that the NL West currently has three playoff teams, but that’s their opponents win/loss record. They Dodgers will now hit a stretch where they play 16 straight games against teams with winning records. I guess it’s time to see what the Dodgers are really made of.

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