The St. Louis Cardinals finished last season 23-9 to clinch a wild card spot before winning the World Series. For St. Louis to return to the postseason, they’ll need to pick up their current pace, starting with the four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cardinals’ Joe Kelly faces the Dodgers’ Chris Capuano in the second game of the series with the National League’s second wild card spot on the line. St. Louis leads the race by two games over the Dodgers following Thursday’s 2-1 win, while the Pirates are three back and Milwaukee is 3 1/2 games off the pace.
St. Louis has been hit with a number of late-season injuries, forcing the club to juggle its starting rotation while it waits for Chris Carpenter (neck, shoulder) to return. Carpenter could be cleared to start next week, but first baseman Lance Berkman (knee) is out for the rest of the year and shortstop Rafael Furcal (elbow) is unlikely to return before the end of the regular season. The Dodgers are dealing with their own health issues, but closer Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) could return as soon as next Tuesday at Washington. Jansen, who’s been out since Aug. 27, is 5-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 25 saves.
Cardinals Dodgers Betting
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, September 14, 2012
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Midwest (St. Louis), PRIME (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Joe Kelly (5-6, 3.51 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Chris Capuano (11-10, 3.59)
Kelly has allowed two runs in each of his last two starts, including last Sunday when he worked six innings against the Brewers. The 24-year-old is 2-3 with a 4.45 ERA in six appearances (five starts) on the road this season. He’s been a pleasant surprise while working as a starter and reliever since making his major-league debut in June.
Capuano is winless since Aug. 12, going 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA over his last five starts. He turned in a promising start last Saturday against the Giants, holding them to two runs over seven innings. After an impressive first half, Capuano has a 4.67 ERA since the All-Star break. He gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings against St. Louis on July 26.
1. The Dodgers take the field Friday with a one-game advantage all-time against the Cardinals, 1,006-1,005.
2. Dodgers INF Adam Kennedy will miss the rest of the season with a strained groin, but the 36-year-old hopes to play again next year.
3. Cardinals 1B Allen Craig began the series batting .388 with runners in scoring position this season, which leads the National League.