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Dodgers road woes face tough test in old tormentor Michael Wacha

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The Dodgers have not scored a run on the road in their last 37 innings, and face a pitcher today that held them scoreless in his only two starts against them.
The Dodgers have not scored a run on the road in their last 37 innings, and face a pitcher today that held them scoreless in his only two starts against them.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers start play on Saturday against the Cardinals in St. Louis with a new perspective. Now in second place for the first time since April 16, the Dodgers try to shake off their road doldrums in the middle game at Busch Stadium.

A 6-9 stretch has dropped the Dodgers (28-19) into second place for the first time in 43 days, a half-game behind the Giants (30-20), who have won 13 of their last 15 games and are 7-2 against the Dodgers this season.

The Dodgers have averaged 4.96 runs per game at Dodger Stadium this year, but on the road the offense has scored only 3.68 runs per game, and none in the last four away games.

The club last scored a run on the road in the eighth inning on May 19 at Coors Field.

The last major league team, before the Dodgers, to get shut out in four straight road games was the 1992 Cubs. The last team to get shut out in five straight road games was the 1985 Braves.

The Dodgers have been held to three or fewer runs 14 times in 19 road games this season, and are 2-12 in those contests.

They are 7-12 on the road this season after finishing each of the last two seasons with the best road record in baseball — 45-36 in 2013 and 49-32 in 2014.

All they have to do on Saturday is face Michael Wacha, who is 7-0 with a 1.87 ERA this season. The Dodgers haven't faced Wacha in a regular season game, but they are well aware of his exploits, getting held scoreless in 13⅔ innings over two starts in the 2013 NLCS.

Wacha's peripheral numbes are down this year, with a 14.8-percent strikeout rate to go with a 3.62 FIP and 4.09 xFIP, yet he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his nine starts.

The Cardinals have won all nine of those starts and have backed Wacha with 54 runs, an average of six runs per start.

Carlos Frias looks to rebound from his 10-run start last Sunday, getting the call for the Dodgers on Saturday, and looking for first-pitch strikes.

Frias has thrown a first-pitch strike 61.2-percent of the time this season, right in line with with the National League average of 61.1 percent. But for Frias the results have been on extreme ends of the spectrum.

After a 1-0 count, opposing batters against Frias are hitting .465/.540/.651 with six strikeouts in 50 batters faced, a 12-percent rate, and seven walks.

After an 0-1 count against Frias, opposing batters are hitting .177/.203/.258 with 13 strikeouts in 64 batters faced, a 20.3-percent rate, and just one walk.

Even factoring in batters hitting the first pitch from Frias — 6-for-15 with two doubles — the numbers against Frias when he throws a first-pitch strike are still favorable to the pitcher, with batters hitting .221/.241/.304.

Game info

Time: 4:15 p.m. PT

TV: Fox