June 8, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Fans fill the stands for the game between the Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

NLCS 2013: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers Game 3 preview


Who: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers

Where: Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles

When: 8:07 PM, ET – TBS

Series record: 2-0, St. Louis

While the St. Louis Cardinals were facing elimination (twice) against the Pittsburgh Pirates in their NLDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers were sitting at home after quietly running through the Atlanta Braves.

The four game series win allowed Los Angeles to essentially align their pitching rotation perfectly as they would be able to start both Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in the first two games of the NLCS. It was a great luxury to have, assuming they took advantage, which they were unable to do.

That’s not to say that Grienke nor Kershaw weren’t wonderful – they were – it was just that Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha, St. Louis’ Game 1 and Game 2 starters were just as effective.

So now we enter Game 3, this time with the Cardinals sitting in the drivers seat as they not only hold a 2-0 series lead, but will send ace Adam Wainwright to the mound. The 19-game-winner only faced the Dodgers once this season, though, was relatively effective despite being handed a loss as he tossed seven innings of three run ball.

If there’s any saving grace for Dodgers faithful, it’s that Wainwright has struggled during his career at Dodger Stadium, posting an ugly 5.16 ERA in almost 30 innings of work. Of course, career stats don’t exactly mean too much right now though it is a bit strange to see such a talented arm struggle at a ballpark that is often viewed as favorable to pitchers.

For the Dodgers, Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been nursing back and elbow injuries will get the call. Ryu did not look good in his lone postseason start, a three inning stint against the Atlanta Braves where he gave up four earned runs though he says he’s feeling healthy and better than he felt prior to his start against Atlanta. The ‘rookie’ did make one start against St. Louis this season, shutting them out for seven innings in a win.

As for the Dodgers’ injuries – both to Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier, it’s expected that (as of right now) both will attempt to play.

While the Dodgers’ season may not be ‘officially’ on the line, falling behind 0-3 is a death blow, so Ryu and the Dodgers will need to bring everything they have to make it a series.

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Tags: 2013 MLB Playoffs Los Angeles Dodgers St. Louis Cardinals