Dodgers @ Cardinals August 5, 2013: Here Comes the Hard Part

August 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

buschstadiumThe Dodgers have been so unbelievably, historically hot over the last six weeks or so that they probably could have played the 1927 Yankees — a time-traveling version, of course, not the current, entirely-dead version — and still done more than merely hold their own. That’s how great they’ve been; you don’t win 30 of 37 by accident. Still, we have to at least point out that this stretch has come during an incredibly soft point in the schedule. The teams they’ve played during this run include the Padres, Giants (twice), Phillies, Rockies (twice), Diamondbacks, Nationals, Blue Jays, Reds, Yankees, and Cubs.

Of that group, only the Nationals and the Diamondbacks are in the top two in their divisions, and the Nationals are still under .500 despite that. Two of them, Toronto & San Francisco, are last-place clubs, and the Cubs probably should be. Only three are even over .500, and none of those three (Yankees, Reds, Diamondbacks) are likely to end up in the playoffs. Again, the Dodgers have been winning because they’ve been playing well, but the fact is that the competition has really helped them along the way here.

Dodgers
Cardinals
LF
Crawford
2B
Carpenter
2B
M.Ellis
RF
Beltran
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Craig
RF
Puig
LF
Holliday
CF
Ethier
3B
Freese
C
A.Ellis
CF
Jay
3B
Uribe
C
Cruz
SS
Punto
SS
Descalso
P
Greinke
P
Wainwright

That changes tonight, because things are about to get real over the next week. Tonight kicks off four games in St. Louis, where the Dodgers never seem to play well and where the Cardinals have been leading the NL Central almost wire-to-wire before recently getting overtaken by Pittsburgh. Then the Dodgers return home for three with Tampa Bay, a team arguably just as hot right now as the Dodgers are, and with their own bat-flipping rookie sensation in Wil Myers. It gets easier after that with 10 against the Mets, Phillies, and Marlins, but they’ll need to get there first.

They will, as expected, do so without Hanley Ramirez, who is not in the lineup as we await word on his shoulder. He is reportedly “feeling better“, but the Dodgers do not want to do an MRI just yet since that would knock him out for three days. Nick Punto starts at shortstop, but the real news here is that Dee Gordon has been recalled, as first reported by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. (Poor Stephen Fife gets sent down to make room, despite pitching well yesterday. That’s what happens when you still have options, I suppose; the organizational depth chart has been updated to reflect.)

The good news, at least, is that Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup after sitting out yesterday, and he’ll take Ramirez’ usual cleanup spot. By the way, even though Zack Greinke is on the mound tonight, the Dodgers can really do a lot to help their man Clayton Kershaw (today named the July NL Pitcher of the Month) here; in what’s quickly becoming a three-man race between Kershaw, Matt Harvey, and Adam Wainwright for the NL Cy Young, the Dodgers get a chance to beat up on Wainwright first-hand.

In addition to being on KCAL, this is an ESPN game and MLB.tv’s free game of the day.

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