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The red hot Cardinals invade Los Angeles

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Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

The Dodgers arrive back in Los Angeles to start a three-game series with the Cardinals starting Monday night. Continuing with the second half theme, the Cardinals are another team with playoff hopes, playing well over the last month.

These two clubs will play seven times over the final 37 games of the season.

Since firing manager Mike Matheny and replacing him with Mike Shildt, St. Louis is 21-11 and more recently 14-4. After losing the first two series coming out of the All-Star break, the Cardinals haven’t lost one since and have charged near the front of the National League wild card race.

St. Louis is only a half game behind the Rockies, Phillies and Brewers, who are tied for the wild card lead. The Dodgers sit one game back of the Cardinals.

The pitching staff owns a 2.71 ERA over the last 23 games and the bullpen has been even better, giving up just 15 runs (14 earned) in 61 innings in August to the tune of a 2.07 ERA. The staff as a whole has held opponents to two or less runs in 11 of the 18 games in August.

Matt Carpenter — a fan favorite in Los Angeles for his work in the playoffs — has 14 homers and a 1.106 OPS in the second half. Carpenter has been so good, he has placed himself in the discussion for NL MVP.

Of the three pitchers the Dodgers will see in this series, only Brian Dozier has faced any of them. Even at that, Dozier had a single and a walk in three plate appearances against Wednesday night’s starter, Jack Flaherty.

The Dodgers are home for 13 of the next 15 games. There is plenty of opportunities to see the boys in blue as they push for their sixth straight division title. Get you tickets right here through our friends at StubHub.

Monday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network*)

Despite a 2.53 ERA, the Dodgers are 6-5 over Alex Wood’s last 11 starts. Lefty Austin Gomber makes his fifth career start. The 24-year-old is 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a starter, giving up six earned runs in 21 13 innings.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, ESPN)

Hyun-jin Ryu takes the ball after tossing six scoreless in his first start in over three months his last time out. Daniel Poncedeleon will be making the second start of his career, being used mostly as a long reliever over this past month.

Poncedeleon made it through seven innings without allowing a hit in his major league debut on July 23.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)

Walker Buehler toes the slab for the Dodgers Wednesday and is on a bit of roll lately. The right-hander has allowed just four runs on 16 hits in his last four starts. Flaherty makes his 21st start of the year, having allowed just 10 runs in his previous seven.

*blacked out in local market