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Series Preview 4/8-11: Dodgers vs. Cardinals

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MLB: San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals were able to salvage a win in the finale of their series with the Padres over the weekend. Now, a different team from California is in St.Louis; the Dodgers are in town for a four-game series that will start on Monday. Los Angeles is 8-2 entering Monday, tied with the Brewers for the best record in the league.

Monday’s game will feature a mound matchup of Miles Mikolas and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and the first pitch is scheduled for 6:45 PM Central time. The games on Tuesday and Wednesday will start at the same time. Mikolas is probably as excited as anyone to be back home. Last season, Mikolas maintained a 2.17 ERA in 16 starts at Busch Stadium. In as many starts on the road in 2018, his ERA was 3.53. Mikolas allowed only six homers at home last season, compared to 10 on the road, and batters hit nearly 40 points lower against Mikolas in St. Louis (.227 at home, .264 away).

Ryu is a 32-year-old left-hander who has been with the Dodgers since 2013. Ryu was limited to just 15 starts last season when a groin strain shelved him from early-May to mid-August. Ryu was the Opening Day starter for the Dodgers and has done a fine job helping minimize the absence of Clayton Kershaw. In his two starts this season, against the Diamondbacks and Giants, Ryu has allowed three earned runs in 13 innings with no walks and 13 punchouts.

Dakota Hudson and Ross Striping will take the hill on Tuesday evening. For Hudson, this will be his second start in the Majors. With enough schedule flexibility in the first week of the season, the Cardinals decided to skip Hudson’s turn in the rotation once and move him to the bullpen for a few days. It worked out. On 4/3 in Pittsburgh, Hudson recorded the final two outs of the ballgame to secure a 5-4 win and the first save of his career.

Stripling will make his third start of the year and look to continue his early-season performance. A very small size, yes, but batters are hitting .209 off Stripling in his 11 23 innings of work. Last year, opponents had a .257 average against him in 122 frames. Stripling’s strike percentage also has a positive change; it sits at 68.7 percent, over two points higher than in 2018.

Wednesday’s ballgame will have Jack Flaherty and Kenta Maeda on the mound. Flaherty grew up near Los Angeles, and he struck out eight and allowed one run in a six-inning start at Dodger Stadium back in September. After giving up four runs in Milwaukee, Flaherty rebounded with five scoreless innings against the Padres in his Opening Day start in St. Louis.

Maeda is in fourth season with the Dodgers after appearing in a career-high 39 appearances (20 starts) last year. Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is the player that Maeda has faced the most in his career. In 31 plate appearances against Maeda, Goldschmidt is 6-for-29 (.207) with two doubles, two walks, and three runs batted in.

The finale of this series is on Thursday and has a 12:15 PM start time. Michael Wacha will face Walker Buehler. Wacha walked eight batters on Saturday and is up to 12 in his 11 23 innings of work this season. Left-handed batters struggled facing Wacha in 2018, as they combined to hit .217 off him. This will be something to keep in mind with the likes of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger (all lefties) serving as some of the biggest names in the Dodgers’ lineup.

The 24-year-old Buehler made his debut in September of 2017. Last year, Buehler dazzled in 24 games (23 starts), pitching to a 2.62 ERA with a 9.90 K/9 rate. Buehler had a 1.12 WHIP on the road last year and has held this current Cardinals team to a collective .130/.200/.152 slash-line. Jedd Gyorko owns the only extra-base hit against Buehler, while Matt Carpenter has six strikeouts.

So, to recap:

Monday, 4/8, 6:45 | Mikolas v Ryu | FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Tuesday, 4/9, 6:45 | Hudson v Striping | FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Wednesday, 4/10, 6:45 | Flaherty v Maeda | FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Thursday, 4/11, 12:15 | Wacha v Buehler | MLB Network, FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Notes from around the league:

  • Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger and Angels outfielder Mike Trout were named each named the Player of the Week for their respective leagues. We’ll get to see Bellinger this week in St. Louis, and Trout is coming in June!
  • Cubs LHP Jon Lester exited his start against the Pirates on Monday afternoon with left hamstring tightness.
  • Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is nearing a record.. for the longest consecutive hitless streak. Davis is 0-for-23 to start the year and, if you go back to last year, 0-for-his-last-44. He is two at-bats away from tying the record (set by Eugenio Velez) and is in the lineup against the Athletics on Monday.