The first team to advance to the League Championship Series only about a week ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers quickly find themselves as the first team with its back against the wall. Down two games to none after being swept in St. Louis, Los Angeles looks to protect its home field Monday. The Dodger bats managed just two runs in the first two games of the series and it shouldn’t get much easier going up against Adam Wainwright in Game 3. Wainwright and the Cards open as -120 favorites with a total of 6.5 with lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu taking the ball for L.A.
Hyun-Jin Ryu didn’t fare well in his first career postseason start against the Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS. Fortunately for the southpaw from South Korea, his offense backed him with 13 runs and the Dodgers were able to get a win at home. He shouldn’t expect 13 runs tonight but should carry a level of confidence into the game based on his performance against St. Louis this season and the Cardinals’ struggles against left-handers. St. Louis was the third worst team in terms of batting average against lefties this season. It also lost it’s only game against Ryu in the regular season when the 26-year-old squandered just one run in seven strong innings. It’s not exactly like the Cardinals have hit any better than Los Angeles in the first two games of the series. Carlos Beltran drove in all three St. Louis runs in the first game and Jon Jay sacrificed in the lone run in Game 2 of the series. Look for Ryu to pitch much better than he did against Atlanta.
It still might not be good enough against the prolific playoff performer Adam Wainwright. Wainwright was phenomenal in the NLDS against Pittsburgh – winning Games 1 and 5 by giving up only two runs in 16 total innings of work. Game 5 was the masterpiece when he went the distance and allowed just one run. Wainwright is a prime postseason performer because of his pinpoint control and variety of pitches. The tall right-hander rarely makes mistakes and keeps hitters off-balance with three or four great pitches. This is a very tough spot for L.A. in a spot where Wainwright smells blood and all the pressure is on the home team to put up runs. The last thing a team wants to have on its mind going up against Adam Wainwright is a feeling of desperation to score. I expect the Dodgers to come out overly-aggressive and for Wainwright to take full advantage getting Dodger hitters to chase good pitches out of the strike zone.
The spot in this game is not a good one whatsoever for Los Angeles. Look for Wainwright to spin another gem and beat Ryu in a pitcher’s duel. Cardinals win 4-2.
Free Pick: St. Louis -120