A Los Angeles Dodgers club that had been struggling mightily over the past month found its groove during a weekend series in New York, sweeping the Mets to move back within a game and a half of first-place San Francisco in the National League West. St. Louis Cardinals had an equally fruitful weekend, outscoring Chicago by a 23-1 count during a three-game sweep that kept the Cardinals five back in an exciting NL Central race. The Dodgers swept three home games against St. Louis earlier this season.
The Cardinals own the best run differential in the National League, thanks largely to an offense that leads the league in runs with 464 and paces the majors in on-base percentage at .343. The rotation, led by first-year starter Lance Lynn, has also been a strength. The Dodgers are just 25th in runs scored but have scored 28 runs over their last four games. CF Matt Kemp is batting .361 with 14 home runs, but has missed 52 games due to injury.
Dodgers Cardinals Betting
When: 8:15 PM ET, Monday, July 23, 2012
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox Sports (Los Angeles), Fox Sports Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Chad Billingsley (4-9, 4.30 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Joe Kelly (1-2, 2.75)
Billingsley is returning from a stint on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, an ailment that might explain his recent struggles. The right-hander saw his ERA rise by nearly three-quarters of a run over his last five starts, all losses. Billingsley yielded 21 runs and 41 hits in 29 innings over that stretch. He took a no-decision against St. Louis on May 20 (6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER).
Kelly has been solid in his seven starts, never allowing more than three runs and going six innings in each of his last five outings, but the Cardinals haven’t given him much help — the rookie is 0-2 in his last four starts despite permitting just nine runs (six earned) in 24 innings. Kelly is 0-1 in four home starts, but he has an impressive 2.11 ERA at Busch Stadium.
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1. Billingsley is 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA in nine career games (eight starts) against the Cardinals. St. Louis OF Matt Holliday is 8-for-25 (.320) against Billingsley with three homers, five RBIs and 10 walks.
2. The Cardinals have struggled against quality competition, dropping 20 of their last 27 games against teams with winning records.
3. Even with their current four-game win streak, the Dodgers are still just 10-19 since their day off on June 18.