The St. Louis Cardinals are going through their worst stretch of the season, and things will not get any easier for them when they try to avoid getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The National League Central-leading Cardinals (22-18) have lost three straight games and could tie their longest skid of the season with another setback to the NL West-leading Dodgers (27-13).
St. Louis ended its season-high four-game losing streak last Tuesday and has proceeded to drop three of four since then. The Cardinals were blanked 6-0 by Los Angeles on Saturday as Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete game with no walks and four strikeouts. St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday and catcher Yadier Molina collected four of the team’s six hits.
LA has won the last six meetings with the Cardinals and eight of 10 overall, including three in a row. Second-year shortstop Justin Sellers hit his first home run of the season for the team on Saturday during a four-run sixth inning while outfielder Andre Ethier went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI. The Dodgers have scored six runs or more in each game during their current winning streak and should have another good opportunity to get to that magic number against St. Louis on Sunday when they face starting pitcher Kyle Lohse.
Lohse (5-1, 2.70 ERA) has put together an impressive start to the season, but he is just 2-3 lifetime against LA with a 5.45 ERA. The 33-year-old veteran has given up five runs in two of his last three starts and usually begins the year well before fading. He appears to already have started his swoon and struggled mightily in his last appearance against the Dodgers, who scored eight runs off him in three innings of a 13-2 rout last August 23.
LA’s Chad Billingsley (2-3, 3.83) may not have a great record right now, but he shut down the Cardinals last year in a 2-1 road victory. Billingsley pitched eight scoreless innings in his last meeting with St. Louis, allowing just three hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts. He has also been a better pitcher at Dodger Stadium, going 1-1 with a 3.43 ERA despite losing his last outing there. Los Angeles is 3-1 in Billingsley’s four home starts and will improve to 4-1 on Sunday.
Take the low price on the home team to complete the sweep against the defending World Series champions.
Free Sunday Night Baseball Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers +100