After the Cardinals swept a three-game series in Los Angeles three weeks ago, the Dodgers have come into St. Louis and have won three straight themselves, doing it in impressive fashion by a combined 29-11.
On Saturday, the Dodgers also snatched away the second National League wild-card spot from the Cardinals.
In the series finale, the Dodgers will send right-hander Ross Stripling (8-3, 2.61 ERA) to the mound. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Adam Wainwright (1-3, 4.70).
It has been a roller-coaster season for Stripling, who started the year in the Dodgers’ bullpen, moved to the starting rotation because of injuries and then secured a spot on his first NL All-Star team. But the second half saw him go on the disabled list twice and getting moved back into the bullpen.
Stripling’s latest chance to start has come after a solid spot start Wednesday at Cincinnati. He will be taking the rotation spot of Alex Wood, who has been moved to the bullpen because of recent inconsistencies.
The change will give the Dodgers two right-handers in the starting rotation as Stripling now can pair with rookie Walker Buehler.
“It is good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to mlb.com. “Ross actually gets lefties out a little bit better, but he is a guy who throws from the right side and is a different look.”
Breaking down Stripling’s assets isn’t likely to be necessary if the Dodgers continue to hit the way they have been of late. Yasiel Puig has five home runs in two days, including his first career three-homer game Saturday. On their current four-game win streak, the Dodgers have scored 37 runs.
Wainwright will be tasked with making the Dodgers’ offense look like it did in an Aug. 20-22 series against the Cardinals. Los Angeles scored a combined six runs in those games or 11 fewer than they scored Saturday.
Wainwright will make only his second start since spending 121 days on the disabled list because of right elbow inflammation. In his return Monday against the Pirates, the right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings while throwing 81 pitches.
“It’s cool to be back, man,” Wainwright said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Now I have to go out and execute a lot better than I did (Monday). It’s good to be back competing. I love being out there, I had such a great time pitching and now I have to pitch better.”
Perhaps Wainwright can gain confidence from some of his past success against the Dodgers. He has posted a 2.69 ERA against them in 15 games (12 starts). He has a lifetime 5-5 record against Los Angeles.
Stripling has faced the Cardinals four times in his career, but only one of those is a start. He is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA against St. Louis. In that one start against the Cardinals in 2016, he gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings, picking up the victory in an 8-4 Dodgers win.