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Dodgers, Cardinals Meet In The (Struggling) Middle

The last time the Cardinals visited Dodger Stadium, seemingly nothing could go wrong for the Dodgers.
The last time the Cardinals visited Dodger Stadium, seemingly nothing could go wrong for the Dodgers.

As the Dodgers open a four-game series Thursday night against the Cardinals, two teams battling for a second wild card that nobody seems to want.

The middle of the order has been struggling mightily of late. For instance, look at the last 14 games:

  • No. 3 hitter: .204/.291/.367
  • No. 4 hitter: .220/.254/.254
  • No. 5 hitter: .213/.269/.298

But that's not the Dodgers, but rather Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, and Yadier Molina. The Cardinals are 4-10 in those last 14 games and like the Dodgers have lost three straight and six of seven contests.

As a result, the battle for that second wild card got a little bit more crowded.

National League Wild Card
Team W-L Pct GB
Braves 81-63 .563 +5½
Cardinals 75-68 .524 ---
Dodgers 74-69 .517 1
Pirates 72-70 .507
Brewers 72-71 .503 3
Phillies 72-71 .503 3

Even the Diamondbacks are within four games of the second wild card and they're under .500, and considering that Arizona doesn't get to play the Dodgers anymore they don't get inclusion in the standings table just yet.

The Brewers have won 18 of their last 23 and the Phillies have won 15 of 19 to bring themselves back into the discussion.

The next 10 games for the Dodgers is a gauntlet of sorts, facing three teams currently in playoff position. After four games with the Cardinals, they open a 10-game road trip with a pair of three-game series against the N.L. East-leading Nationals (89-54) and the N.L. Central-leading Reds (87-57).

Thursday's Pitching Matchup

Josh Beckett, with 18 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings and a 3.86 ERA in his first three starts as a Dodger, gets the call in the series opener for the Dodgers. Beckett hasn't faced the Cardinals since August 3, 2005, when he was with the Marlins.

Lance Lynn started the season 10-2 with a 2.42 ERA in his first 13 starts, but then went 3-3 with a 5.89 ERA in his next 12 starts to get bounced from the rotation. After pitching in relief for two weeks Lynn is back in the rotation, starting the opener Thursday night. He got a no-decision against the the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 18, and gave up four runs in six innings.

Game Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday