Dodgers-Cardinals Series May Foreshadow Postseason

July 30, 2009

The Cardinals 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in a marathon 15-inning game last night was revealing in many ways. The Cardinals also won the first two games of the series in dominant fashion, outscoring the Dodgers 16-1. The loss was the fourth in a row for Los Angeles, their longest losing streak this year.

So, what did we learn?

1. With the Phillies acquisition of Cliff Lee and the Cardinals trading for Matt Holliday, the Dodgers are likely the third best team in the National League.

Sure, the Dodgers still have the best record in baseball. However their post-All Star Game slide is not easily dismissed. The Cardinals and Phillies both have teams that have won the World Series and both are clearly playing better than the Dodgers right now.

2. Clayton Kershaw is clearly the ace of the Dodger staff.

Despite the all-star status of Chad Billingsley, the best pitcher on the team is 21-year old lefty Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw threw 8 brilliant scoreless innings against the Cardinals, and has been a dominant pitcher in the last month. Even late into the 8th inning yesterday he was striking out hitters with a 94mph fastball. If the Dodgers are to survive in the postseason, they will need him to win multiple games in any series they play.

3. The Dodgers starting pitching will be a problem again in the postseason.

Most have been aware that the Dodgers starting pitching was a potential problem. However, only against the better teams is it likely to be revealed how inadequate that pitching might be.

Supposed ace Chad Billingsley appears to lack the intangibles at this point and has a lot to prove after last year's postseason debacle. Many people still recall his team-deflating refusal to answer Phillies pitchers reckless inside pitching with some of his own.

Against teams like St. Louis or Philadelphia, Dodger starters will struggle against the top hitters and look weak in comparison to those pitching staffs.

Both the Cardinals and Phillies are built for the postseason. With Wainwright and Carpenter the Cardinals can rely on two top-notch pitchers to get the job done. Similarly, the Phillies starters Moyer, Hamels, and Blanton, have proven based upon last season that, despite some of their struggles this year, they can be effective when needed. And don't forget Pedro Martinez is waiting in the wings.

4. The Dodgers' young talent is once again failing to produce timely hitting.

Just as last season the Dodgers appeared to rely heavily on Manny Ramirez for offense in the NLCS against the Phillies, similarly they are failing in a playoff-like atmosphere in St. Louis.

While the Dodgers have been outscored a ridiculous 19-3 in the first three games of their series with the Cardinals, they actually have more hits in the series, 33-30. However, Dodger hitters are failing to capitalize and have left 9 more men on base than St. Louis thus far.

Last night was a perfect example of how teams can avoid getting hurt by the Dodgers.

Manny Ramirez had three at-bats in extra innings. With two outs and no one on base, he was pitched around and walked. Next time he came up again with two outs and no one on base. This time the Cardinals chose to pitch to him and he doubled to left. Learning from this, the Cardinals intentionally walked him when he came up next.


The Dodgers have yet to prove that they will do any better in the postseason this year. If they intend to do better, they should pursue Roy Halladay if possible and be willing to give up Billingsley (not Kershaw) to shore up the pitching staff. Finally, they must get timely hitting from young players like Ethier, Loney, Kemp, and Martin.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...