National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, July 23rd
(All times eastern)
Los Angeles Dodgers (52-44) at St. Louis Cardinals (50-45), 8:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Los Angeles - Chad Billingsley (4-9, 4.30)
St. Louis - Joe Kelly (1-2, 2.75)
(Sports Network) -- A pair of playoff contenders that have rebounded from a
sluggish start to the second half start up a four-game series this evening at
Busch Stadium, where the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals play
host to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After sitting atop the National League West standings for most of the season's
first three months, the Dodgers fell out of the top spot following a woeful
6-19 stretch from June 19-July 17. Los Angeles seems to have regained its
touch during this current road trip, however, opening up the 10-game trek with
three consecutive victories over the sliding New York Mets over the weekend.
The Dodgers needed extra innings to complete the sweep, but erupted for five
runs in the top of the 12th to register an 8-3 win in Sunday's finale. Pinch-
hitter Matt Treanor broke the deadlock with a two-RBI single, with Adam
Kennedy capping the uprising with a double that brought home a pair of runs.
James Loney and Tony Gwynn Jr. began the 12th with singles and Andre Ethier
was intentionally walked to load the bases for Treanor, who delivered a ground
ball up the middle with two out to give Los Angeles a 5-3 lead.
"I knew the situation might come up," said Treanor. "I went up there and
basically just looking for a pitch to hit, something out over the plate."
The Dodgers took a 3-2 advantage into the bottom of the ninth, but closer Javy
Guerra was touched for a run on two hits to send the contest into extra
The win moved Los Angeles within 1 1/2 games of first-place San Francisco in
the division standings after the Giants lost at Philadelphia on Sunday.
St. Louis also struggled out of the All-Star break, having been swept in a
three-game set with Cincinnati and then dropping two of three matchups in
Milwaukee to begin its second half. The Cardinals bounced back strongly upon
returning home, though, outscoring the Chicago Cubs by a lopsided 23-1 margin
in taking all three bouts in this past weekend's series between the two
After getting seven scoreless innings from Jake Westbrook in a 12-0 rout on
Saturday, Lance Lynn combined with two relievers on a five-hitter as St. Louis
bested the Cubs by a 7-0 score yesterday afternoon.
Lynn worked the first six innings and yielded just four hits and three walks
to pick up his 12th win of the season, one shy of the Mets' R.A. Dickey for
the NL lead. Fernando Salas and Marc Rzepcynski finished off the shutout to
help St. Louis nail down its fifth straight win at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals are now 9-2 at home during the month of July.
Lynn got all the support he would need in the first inning, with Jon Jay and
Tony Cruz each stroking two-run doubles off Chicago starter Travis Wood to
give St. Louis a quick 4-0 advantage. Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran added
back-to-back solo homers in the fifth to extend the margin to seven.
"(It was) their series, I guess," Wood said of the Cardinals. "They put the
ball in play, they got the hits when they needed, scored the runs, and
[Sunday] they did more of the same."
St. Louis will attempt to keep up its hot hitting tonight against Chad
Billingsley, who'll be making his first start in two weeks following a short
stint on the disabled list.
Billingsley was placed on the DL with right elbow inflammation on July 8, one
day after allowing four runs in six innings in a defeat at Arizona. It was the
fifth consecutive losing start for the right-hander, who brings a 4-9 record
and a career-worst 4.30 earned run average into this evening's tilt.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old has also struggled historically against the
Cardinals, having compiled just a 1-3 mark and a 4.63 ERA in nine lifetime
games (8 starts). In four career outings at Busch Stadium, he's 0-2 with a
Billingsley, who has posted an ugly 6.21 ERA during his present rough patch
and hasn't won since June 10, got a no-decision when facing St. Louis in Los
Angeles on May 20. He surrendered five runs (3 earned) and walked four before
exiting after six innings.
The Cardinals hand the ball tonight to rookie Joe Kelly, with the young righty
seeking to put together his sixth straight quality start. The 24-year-old has
pitched to a solid 2.75 ERA in seven appearances since replacing the injured
Jaime Garcia in the rotation, though he has just one victory to show for his
Kelly took a loss his previous time out after giving up three runs (2 earned)
over six innings at Milwaukee last Tuesday. He held Miami to only one earned
run and two hits through six frames in his prior start, but wound up stuck
with a no-decision after the Marlins rallied after he departed.
The Southern California native will be aiming to halt a string of seven
straight losses by the Cardinals to Los Angeles, which includes a three-game
sweep at Busch Stadium last August. The Dodgers also won all three meetings
between the clubs in Los Angeles from May 18-20.
07/23 10:32:13 ET