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Series preview: Cardinals at Dodgers

6/26/2014

LOS ANGELES -- The St. Louis Cardinals make their first visit to Dodger Stadium since last October's National League Championship Series.

The Cardinals, of course, won that series four games to two, but some of the Dodgers have wondered whether things might have gone differently had Joe Kelly not cracked one of Hanley Ramirez's ribs in Game 1. The Dodgers also had their suspicions about whether Cardinals baserunners were aware of their signs and were relaying the location of pitches from second base.

There's nothing the Dodgers can do about any of that now other than try to win some games this weekend, and they may be catching the Cardinals at a good time, with all sorts of injuries to their young and vastly talented pitching staff.

Shelby Miller had back spasms during Tuesday's start and is questionable for this series. The Cardinals are already without Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia. They've been forced to move reliever Carlos Martinez into the rotation (he'll pitch Friday) and to promote Marco Gonzalez from Double-A.

"It wasn't exactly how we lined it up," manager Mike Matheny told reporters this week.

The Cardinals do, however, have one practically sure thing, one of the few aces who can rival the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright (10-3, 2.08 ERA), who will pitch Thursday night against the Dodgers' Josh Beckett (5-4, 2.28).

Kershaw, who gave up 10 hits in four innings the last time he faced St. Louis, in the Dodgers' 9-0 Game 6 loss at Busch Stadium, will pitch Sunday, no doubt intent on proving that night was a fluke. The Cardinals have yet to announce starting pitchers for Saturday or Sunday. The Dodgers will use Hyun-Jin Ryu against Martinez on Friday. Zack Greinke, who is in the midst of a mild four-start slump, will pitch Saturday's game.

The Cardinals don't score a lot of runs, but that was the case last season, too. They rank 12th in the National League in runs scored and 10th in OPS. The Cardinals are hard to rally against. Closer Trevor Rosenthal has 48 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings to go with 23 saves.