The Los Angeles Dodgers will visit the St. Louis Cardinals Monday to open a four-game series with wild card implications.
The Dodgers (86-51) are trying to win the National League West title and avoid the wild-card game. They lost two of three games to the San Francisco Giants over the weekend to remain in second place, one game back of the Giants in the division.
The Cardinals (69-66) are trying to battle their way into the wild-card game. They managed just one win in the three-game weekend series at Milwaukee to fall three games back of the second slot.
They blew a 5-1 ninth-inning lead in their 6-5 loss to the Brewers Sunday.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had to bounce back from real gut punches,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “It doesn’t really matter who’s coming to town. We’ve just have to figure out how to get back on the horse and get back after it.”
The Dodgers will start Max Scherzer (12-4, 2.40 ERA) in Monday’s game at Busch Stadium. He left his most recent start against the Atlanta Braves last Wednesday after 76 pitches due to hamstring tightness.
Scherzer said he doesn’t expect the issue to hinder him while facing the Cardinals in his hometown.
“I’ve had this in the past and you just get the treatment on it, listen to the trainers and do what they want you to do with it,” Scherzer said. “In the past, I’ve always been able to make my next start.”
Scherzer is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six starts for the Dodgers since arriving in a trade with the Washington Nationals. He won his previous start against the Cardinals this season 1-0 on April 16.
He is 3-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 12 career starts against the Cardinals. Scherzer has been particularly successful against Yadier Molina (1-for-17) and Paul Goldschmidt (2-for-28, 15 strikeouts) over the years.
The Cardinals will start Miles Mikolas (0-1, 4.41), who is continuing his comeback from forearm and shoulder injuries.
He lasted just three innings in his most recent start, a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. He allowed four runs on five hits and one walk.
“That was the best he’s thrown by far, by far. I thought he was way better than his line,” Shildt said.
“I thought my stuff was pretty good,” Mikolas said. “They didn’t hit anything terribly hard. They didn’t really get any good swings at the ball.”
He is 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five career outings against the Dodgers, including two starts. Justin Turner (2-for-2, double, RBI), Corey Seager (3-for-6, double, RBI) and AJ Pollock (1-for-3, double, RBI) have had some success against him in limited exposure.
Pollock, however, suffered a hamstring muscle strain trying to steal third base Saturday night, and he landed the 10-day injured list.
“He felt much better today,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday. “A couple weeks is probably where we’re at and we’ll pick up from there. I still see him getting back this season at some point.”
The Dodgers called up pitcher Mitch White to replace him on the active roster.
–Field Level Media