Cardinals @ Dodgers, September 13, 2012: Lynn vs Beckett

September 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

I’m honestly not really sure what else to say at this point. The starting pitching and the defense have each been decent enough, if something short of greatness, yet the offense has been a total black hole. Thanks to the recent slide, the Dodgers are now just five games over .500 at 74-69, and it’s really just as easy to see them go 7-13 and finish break-even as it is to see them turn it on and make the playoffs at this point, isn’t it?

If there’s hope here, it’s that St. Louis has fallen on hard times as well, coming off a sweep in San Diego and having been losers of 6 of 7 and 11 of 15. It’s with this that in mind that this – and yes, we’ve said this before – is “The Most Important Series of the Season™”, except this time it is. Not only is this the Dodgers’ last crack at the Cardinals this year, the two teams face very divergent schedules after this. The Dodgers head out to face Washington & Cincinnati, the two top teams in the NL, while the Cardinals start a nine-game run against the putrid Astros & Cubs. (Before then finishing off their season with a homestand against those same Nats & Reds, it should be noted, but who knows if those two teams will even be playing for anything at that point.

Cardinals
Dodgers
CF
Jay
2B
M.Ellis
3B
Carpenter
RF
Ethier
LF
Holliday
CF
Kemp
1B
Craig
1B
Gonzalez
C
Molina
SS
Ramirez
RF
Beltran
LF
Victorino
2B
Schumaker
3B
Cruz
SS
Descalso
C
A.Ellis
P
Lynn
P
Beckett

Don Mattingly, to his credit, is finally accepting that he needs to do something to shake up the order, and whipping boy Shane Victorino has finally been bumped down to sixth, where he’ll strand the heart of the order when they finally decide to get on base and then ensure that Luis Cruz & A.J. Ellis bat with no one one base. (Joking, but only sort of.)

That pushes Andre Ethier to the #2 spot for only the third time this year, and I have to say, I like that. Ethier is one of the few Dodger hitters actually worth a damn right now – .352/.410/.620 over his last 19 games – and Victorino obviously wasn’t getting the job done.

Josh Beckett, oddly, has faced only three members of this Cardinals team in the regular season, despite having kicked around the game for 12 years, and that’s really down to two since Lance Berkman is injured. Even the two he has faced – Carlos Beltran & Matt Holliday – haven’t seen him since 2009, so hopefully Beckett will have the element of surprise that always seems to foil the Dodgers when they face a new pitcher. (Of course, barely any Dodger has seen Lance Lynn, either.)

It’s hard to believe, but the Dodgers are still only just one game out of a playoff spot with four against that very team starting tonight. Can they take three out of four to pull into a tie? At least keep the status quo with a split? We’ve been saying it for a while, but they’re running out time to turn things around. It really, truly, has to start tonight.

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