While it has not been a West Coast trip to savor so far, the St. Louis Cardinals will open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday coming off a victory.
The Cardinals avoided a four-game sweep against the San Francisco Giants with a 6-0 win on Thursday. Right-hander Miles Mikolas struck out six in 6 1/3 sharp innings, and St. Louis banged out 12 hits.
“That’s what Cardinals baseball is supposed to look like,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “There’s a lot of positive things that came out of (it). But that’s the style of baseball we need to play.”
St. Louis’ Alec Burleson hit a home run in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie. Paul DeJong added a two-run homer one inning later.
“It was great to put everything together and kind of see our potential,” Burleson said. “To finally see it all come together for us was really fun.”
St. Louis is now 2-5 after visits to Seattle and San Francisco and has not won consecutive games since April 11-12 against the Colorado Rockies. The Cardinals have not won three in a row all season.
The Cardinals will send right-hander Jack Flaherty (2-2, 3.29 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. The Los Angeles-area native does not have a decision in three career starts at Dodger Stadium, where he owns a 1.50 ERA and has 29 strikeouts in 18 innings.
In five career starts against Los Angeles, Flaherty is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings.
The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Dustin May (2-1, 3.07 ERA) as they attempt to purge a rough series at Pittsburgh from their system. Los Angeles dropped consecutive games against the Pirates by a combined 14-3 score and went 4-3 on a road trip against the Chicago Cubs and Pirates.
May earned a win over the Cubs on Saturday when he gave up two runs on two hits over 5 1/3 innings with three walks and six strikeouts. It was an improvement from an April 17 outing against the New York Mets in which he gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
May has faced the Cardinals just once, when he yielded one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings during a 2019 no-decision. He struck out seven and walked one.
Los Angeles third baseman Max Muncy, the major league leader with 11 home runs, and right-hander Brusdar Graterol missed the Pittsburgh series while on the paternity list. Both are expected back to face the Cardinals. Last week, outfielder/infielder Mookie Betts and late-inning right-hander Evan Phillips also hit the paternity list.
Muncy’s return should help a sluggish Los Angeles offense. The Dodgers would have been swept at Pittsburgh if not for a late three-run home run from Chris Taylor on Tuesday that was the difference in an 8-7 victory.
A big problem for the Dodgers was the Pirates’ success on the basepaths. Pittsburgh went 12-for-13 on stolen-base attempts in the series, swiping three in the first inning on Thursday. The Dodgers also struggled against the speedy Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this season.
“As far as the guys that are here, there are some things we’ve got to get better at on both sides of the baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But we’re going to get our team back here, our full-strength team, soon.”
–Field Level Media