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Brandon McCarthy starts Dodgers opener in St. Louis

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers open a three-game weekend series with the Cardinals, and will send Brandon McCarthy to the mound trying to continue his roll in the opener on Friday night.

McCarthy has come out firing since his return from the disabled list, striking out 38 percent of his batters faced through three starts, with 22 strikeouts against only four walks in 16 innings.

He has gradually built up his length, lasting five, five and six innings in his three starts, throwing 72, 77 and 77 pitches in his outings. On Saturday in Arizona he threw a whopping 55 of his pitches for strikes (71.4 percent), striking out eight while walking none in a no-decision.

The Cardinals find themselves one game out of a wild card spot entering play on Friday, which is a different spot for them, coming off 100 wins last year and five straight playoff appearances. St. Louis is on pace for 87 wins this season after averaging 93 wins over the last five years.

The Dodgers are 12-23 in the regular season at new Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006, and 1-5 there in the postseason. The Dodgers have dropped two of three games in St. Louis in each of the last two seasons.

The Cardinals are just 24-28 at home this season, though they just completed a four-game sweep of the Padres.

The Dodgers won two of three games against the Cardinals in Los Angeles from May 13-15, including a win over Michael Wacha, who starts on Friday for St. Louis. The Dodgers tagged Wacha for six runs and eight hits in four innings on May 13, though just two of the runs were earned in a game that saw St. Louis commit four errors, three by shortstop Aledmys Diaz.

Since their series at Dodger Stadium in May, the Dodgers are 34-25 and the Cardinals are 31-26.

Game info

Time: 5:15 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA