Posted: Oct 14, 2013 3:34 PM by Clayton Conness, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer
Updated: Oct 14, 2013 3:51 PM
LOS ANGELES - After picking up wins against the Dodgers in Games 1 and 2, the St. Louis Cardinals are in the driver's seat for the NL pennant. But the Redbirds still need two more wins, with the first of five opportunities to do so coming Monday night.
The Cardinals now travel back two time zones with their destination being Dodgers Stadium. There, they'll play at least two games and possibly a third if the Dodgers can win either Games 3 or 4.
St. Louis is expected to have an advantage in the starting pitcher category Monday in a series that has seen only six runs altogether. Adam Wainwright will bring his 1.13 postseason ERA to the mound for the Cardinals, already looking for his third playoff win in 2013.
He'll be opposed by Los Angeles' Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu compiled 14 wins in the regular season but had his fair share of issues against the Braves in the NLDS. He lasted just three innings in his lone start of the series, giving up four runs in the process.
The Dodgers may find themselves shorthanded for Game 3. Andre Ethier is questionable for the matchup as he continues to be plagued with a micro-fracture in his lower left leg. The setback would be a major one as Ethier is 10-for-33 with three home runs lifetime against Wainwright.
Los Angeles third baseman Hanley Ramirez's status for Monday is also uncertain. After being hit in the ribs by a pitch in Game 1, Ramirez missed Game 2. He and his .345 regular season batting average could remain on the bench yet again.
The Dodgers could potentially feel a little comfortable if they saw how the Cardinals have been hitting the ball this postseason. After displaying a .269 team batting average in the regular season, St. Louis has hit just .187 in October, worst among playoff teams.
Despite the slump at the plate, the Cardinals are still doing what matters most - winning. If they keep that up, St. Louis may be crowned National League champions for the second time in three years. The next stop would be the World Series.
Game 3 will start at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen on TBS.