Cardinals-Dodgers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 13, 2012
Despite struggling of late, both the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers remain in good position to claim the second wild-card berth in the NL. With a one-game lead over the Dodgers for that spot, the Cardinals look to avoid a fourth straight loss overall and fifth consecutive defeat at Chavez Ravine on Thursday night. Hoping for the chance to defend its World Series title, St. Louis (75-68) has not looked like a postseason contender while losing 11 of 15. The Cardinals head to Los Angeles after a 3-2 loss Wednesday concluded a three-game sweep by San Diego. "Overall, it doesn't matter (how hard the team plays) because it all comes down to whether you win,'' manager Mike Matheny said. "They are still aware of the sense of urgency.'' That's because St. Louis owns a slim wild-card lead over the Dodgers (74-69). The two also have Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Philadelphia within three games or less of that second and final spot. "St. Louis and ourselves, we have let a lot of people back in the race - but it's still in our hands," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "No matter how bad it has looked and no matter where it has been, it's still right there for us.'' The Cardinals have been outscored 20-11 during a four-game skid at Dodger Stadium, but Los Angeles has dropped three in a row and six of seven overall. They open the four-game set against Josh Beckett (1-2, 3.86 ERA), who is 2-2 with a 5.11 ERA in six starts against them but has not faced St. Louis since 2005. Though Beckett allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 loss at San Francisco on Friday, he hopes for a second straight strong outing at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander allowed a home run and struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 victory over Arizona on Sept. 1 in his first appearance at Chavez Ravine since Los Angeles acquired him from Boston. "They didn't bring me here to pitch OK," Beckett told the Dodgers' official website after his last outing. "They brought me here to pitch good." The Cardinals counter with Lance Lynn (14-7, 4.04), who returns to the rotation in place of the injured Jake Westbrook after being relegated to the bullpen for the past two weeks. Lynn, who won his first six starts and earned an All-Star nod this season, went 0-1 with a 6.56 ERA in his last five starts before his demotion. His most recent start came Aug. 24 at Cincinnati, where he allowed four runs in two innings of an 8-5 win. Despite Lynn's recent struggles, Matheny feels confident putting the right-hander in this important situation. "We know that's not going to affect him, and we believe in his stuff," he told the Cardinals' official website. In his only previous appearance versus Los Angeles, Lynn gave up four runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-5 loss at Dodger Stadium on May 18. St. Louis slugger Carlos Beltran is batting .131 (8 for 61) with one extra-base hit in his last 18 games. He's 3 for 15 (.200) versus Beckett. Adrian Gonzalez drove in both runs during Los Angeles' 3-2 loss at Arizona on Wednesday. The Dodgers, 6-11 since acquiring Gonzalez and Beckett, have hit .212 and scored 13 runs in their last seven contests. Los Angeles star Matt Kemp is 4 for 36 (.111) with 11 strikeouts in his last nine games while teammate Hanley Ramirez is 2 for 19 (.105) and fanned seven times in his last five. Kemp and Ramirez are a combined 8 for 46 (.174) versus St. Louis in 2012.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Luke Maye sends North Carolina to the Final Four with game-winning shot

Singer Darius Rucker cries as South Carolina clinches Final Four berth

Rockets take shot at Westbrook's MVP candidacy

New info shows just how much Las Vegas wants Raiders

Tomlin: Steelers are preparing for Roethlisberger's retirement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bills reporter: 'Only a matter of time' before GM Whaley is fired

Report: Patriots, Revis have not discussed possible reunion

Video of LaVar Ball playing basketball surfaces and he doesn't look great

Reporter: Giants 'would not go near' Adrian Peterson

Report: Browns unlikely to give Josh Gordon another chance

Popovich: Owners interfering with player rest is risky

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker