Video Credit: MLB

FSM Essential Recap: Dodgers vs Cardinals – Series 45

Los Angeles Dodgers (88-53 |  St. Louis Cardinals (71-68)


“Listen, if you start worrying about the people in the stands, before too long you’re up in the stands with them.”

– Tommy LaSorda


Game 4:

Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

With a chance to win the series, the Dodgers’ offense went ice cold as they fell to the Cardinals, 2-1.

In case you missed the starting lineup, let me read off the batting averages of the players that were hitting in the 5-8 spots, not to mention the pitcher hitting ninth:

.158, .161, .192, .217

Players like Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, and Will Smith all had the day off. Most would totally be fine with that if this was May, or if the Dodgers had an eight-game lead in the division. But no, there are only three weeks remaining in the season and the Dodgers trailed the Giants by two games in the division heading into the game yesterday.

That was the lineup they rolled out there.

Guys are going to have to have days off,” Dave Roberts said on why he gave certain players days off. “That’s the nature of this game. We’ve run other guys and had the same result. It’s not predictable, as much as you can say it was. We know our offense has struggled with different guys at the bottom of the lineup.”

As expected, the offense did nothing. They scored one run on four hits. Trea Turner had two hits, with Mookie Betts and Max Muncy each recording a hit as well. The players that batted in the 5-9 spots went a combined 0-for-17. The lone player to reach base was Albert Pujols, who walked in his pinch-hitting appearance.

We just couldn’t build innings and just couldn’t put things together,” Roberts said. “It’s just that time where results matter. The process has been good and we jus have to keep grinding.”


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

The Dodgers need to do something and they need to do it quick. Whether that is calling up Matt Beaty and Gavin Lux or figuring out how to fit guys in the lineup. This offense has been among one of the worst in all of baseball over the last three weeks and it has cost the Dodgers numerous times.

Thank god for the pitching or else this division race would be over. L.A.’s pitching staff has kept them in so many games and has been the reason they’ve won a lot of these close finishes.

Yes, there’s still plenty of time. Dodgers fans still have faith in the Dodgers to still win this division. The Dodgers left Los Angeles a week ago tied with the Giants atop the NL West, confident they were surging. They return having gone 3-4 on the seven-game trip and fallen 2½ games back in the division with 21 games left to play in the regular season.


Game 4 Boxscore:

WP: Al Reyes (6-8)

LP: Phil Bickford (3-2)

SV: Giovanny Gallegos (6)

HR: Tyler O’Neill (25)


The Dodgers are back home to take on the San Diego Padres. L.A. will start Julio Urais, while the Padres will counter with Joe Musgrove. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 and can be seen on SportsNet LA.




Game 3:


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

It’s only fair that, after the three oldest Dodgers figured prominently in wins in the first two games in St. Louis, the two oldest Cardinals returned the favor on Wednesday night. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina highlighted the Cardinals’ 5-4 win in the third game of a four-game set at Busch Stadium.

Molina, who turned 39 in July, hit a two-run home run to give St. Louis the lead in the first inning, and the 40-year-old Wainwright kept it that way, retiring 15 in a row at one point for his eighth win in his last 10 starts.

The home run by Molina capped a three-run first inning against Mitch White, who also allowed a pair of hits in the fourth inning for another run, scored by Molina.

Despite getting touched up for four runs, White did provide the length that was asked of him, one day after nine pitchers were used in a planned bullpen game. The right-hander pitched five innings, just the sixth time in 30 games since the beginning of July that a Dodgers pitcher other than Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer, or Julio Urías lasted that long.

It was the 37-year-old Scherzer who dominated the opener this series by striking out 13 in eight innings. On Tuesday, 41-year-old Albert Pujols homered in his old ballpark, and 36-year-old Justin Turner hit two long balls.


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers got three hits against Wainwright in the first inning, scoring in the opening frame for the third time in three tries in this series and for the fourth time in the last five games.

But after Seager’s double, Wainwright retired 15 in a row. Max Muncy, who singled in the opening frame, snapped the string with a home run in the fifth to pull the Dodgers within a pair. It was Wainwright’s first home run allowed since August 1, with 50 homerless innings in between.

The Dodgers bunched three hits together in the ninth to finally chase Wainwright, including another run-scoring hit by Seager, this time a single. A sacrifice fly by Will Smith got the Dodgers to within one, but the tying run was stranded when Giovanny Gallegos struck out Chris Taylor to end the game.

Six of Wainwright’s first eight innings were 1-2-3. Wainwright has lasted at least seven innings 16 times this season, tied with Zack Wheeler for most such games in the majors.


Game 3 Boxscore:


WP: Adam Wainwright (15-7)

LP: Mitch White (1-3)

SV: Giovanny Gallegos (5)

HR: Max Muncy (31); Yadier Molina (10)


Tony Gonsolin will be activated from the injured list to pitch three or so innings on get-a-way day this morning, which is one of three remaining morning Pacific time starts on the schedule. Second-year right-hander Jake Woodford starts for St. Louis. The first pitch is at 10:15 and can be seen on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.



Game 2:


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Joe Puetz/USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night was about a city paying respect to a legend, and said icon responding with a special moment. Albert Pujols got the ball rolling, hitting the first of four Dodgers home runs to beat the Cardinals 7-2 at Busch Stadium.

Fans in St. Louis gave Pujols a standing ovation before his first at-bat, in the first inning. Then he earned another one four pitches later by launching a ball into the left-field seats, the 679th home run of his career.

You can’t write this stuff,” said Joe Davis on his home run call for SportsNet LA.

Storybook,” said manager Dave Roberts. “It’s one of those things you hope could happen, but the likelihood is very improbable.”

Any time he hits a home run, you’re watching history out there,” said Justin Turner.

Pujols’ career has been special, but especially so his first 11 years with the Cardinals, and that’s what the Busch Stadium fans were ready and willing to honor, just as they did in three games in 2019 when the Angels visited St. Louis. Pujols homered then, too.

Though Pujols hasn’t yet said what his plans are beyond this year, his 21st major league season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game that “I know there’s more in the tank.”

The Dodgers were open with Pujols when they signed him in May that they still believed in his bat, but that playing time might be limited, especially as regulars eventually got healthy. That’s proven true of late, with Tuesday marking just the third start for Pujols in the last 20 games.

He has poured into our organization immensely, and it will have a lasting effect. We’re lucky to have him,” Roberts said. “The fans have really embraced him. He feels that. The coaches and players, the same. It’s been a love fest from all angles with Albert being a Dodger, but most importantly he’s helped us win baseball games.”


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

Pujols has helped the Dodgers win by crushing left-handed pitching, to the tune of .313/.349/.646 and 10 home runs to tie Max Muncy for the team lead against southpaws.

J.A. Happ was the victim for the latest Pujols home run, and the left-hander also allowed a home run to Justin Turner, the first homer for Turner in 21 games. Happ allowed four runs in his five innings.

Will Smith hit the third Dodgers home run, this one off of right-hander Alex Reyes in the sixth inning. The power is to be expected from Smith, who leads National League catchers with 23 home runs this season. But he also had three infield singles for a season-high total of four hits. Smith is hitting .310/.423/.651 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in 38 games since the All-Star break.

Turner took another left-hander, Kwang Hyun Kim, deep in the ninth for his second multi-homer game of the season.

That gave the Dodgers a convenient seven runs on 11 hits, the latter the highest total since a 16-hit attack on August 16, 21 games ago. They scored in five different innings on Tuesday, after ending Monday hitless in their last 19 at-bats.

We’ve done a good job winning games, scoring a bunch in one or two innings,” Turner said. “We did a really good job tonight for nine innings, putting pressure on them.”

On the run prevention side, the Dodgers puzzle on Tuesday included several pieces, the byproduct of Max Scherzer’s brilliant Monday outing that left a well-rested bullpen. Nine different pitchers were used by the Dodgers, with Evan Phillips and his five outs the only one asked to pitch longer than an inning.

The Voltron combined to allow just two runs.

Nine pitchers are the most used by the Dodgers in a game this season that ended in nine innings and tied for fourth-most in any game by L.A. The eleven pitchers used last Friday in San Francisco was a season-high, and in that game, the Dodgers also used nine pitchers in the first nine frames.


Game 2 Boxscore:


WP: Alex Vesia (3-1)

LP: J.A. Happ (8-8)

HR: Albert Pujols (17), Justin Turner 2 (23), Will Smith (23)


Mitch White starts for the Dodgers on Wednesday in the third game of the series. He’s on four days rest after he pitched six innings for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday. Adam Wainwright starts for the Cardinals with the first pitch slated for 4:45 on SportsNet LA.



Game 1:


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

Just when you thought Max Scherzer couldn’t get any better, he showed that it was somehow possible. In his best game as a Dodger, Scherzer allowed zero runs (one unearned) in eight innings in L.A.’s 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

He was pretty much untouchable all afternoon, as the Cardinals never really had any chance at the plate. Scherzer struck out 13, his high while with the Dodgers. Overall for the game, he had 25 swing-and-misses. If you want to make it look even more impressive, Scherzer didn’t even issue a walk.

When [the offense goes] out there and they’re sleepwalking and give you four runs, thats a huge boost for me,” he said following the game. “That allowed me to be aggressive at their lineup.”

Since joining L.A., Scherzer has added himself into the Cy Young Award conversation. After today, you can make the case he should be the favorite. He’s now made seven starts with the Dodgers, with L.A. winning all seven. In just 43 innings, Scherzer has 63 strikeouts and only five walks.

Not only is Scherzer as good as advertised, he appears to be getting better and better.

He’s better as advertised,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We knew what we were going to get as far as the player. he’s exceeded that.”

Scherzer’s ERA is now 1.05 in seven starts with L.A., and he’s now thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings. With how depleted L.A.’s pitching has been this season, especially over the last month, you can make the case that Scherzer has been the MVP of the team since being acquired.


Dodgers vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

After today’s 13-strikeout performance, Scherzer is only six punchouts away from reaching 3,000 for his career.

That’s a huge milestone, something I’ll be proud of,” he said. “That’s a part of the process of durability and executing the game plan. It’s great to go out there and get strikeouts but it’s more important to locate well. Strikeouts are a part of the process of executing pitches.”

With Scherzer pitching, the offense didn’t need to do much. They still gave Scherzer five runs, with four of them coming in the first inning. Three straight hits to begin the game helped give the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead. After a walk from Corey Seager, Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer to put L.A. up 4-0. Two innings later, Seager delivered an RBI single to put L.A. up 5-0.

Five runs in two innings. That is quite good. No hits the rest of the way. Not good.

After Taylor’s home run, the Dodgers finished the game 1-for-26 at the plate. After Seager’s base hit in the third, the Dodgers finished the game 0-for-19 at the plate. It’s tough to be harsh on an offense that scored five runs, but that’s just inexcusable. If the Dodgers are going to win the division, they need the offense to be consistent and show up. You can’t have stretches like that.


Game 1 Boxscore:


WP: Max Scherzer (13-4)

LP: Miles Mikolas (0-2)

HR: Chris Taylor (20)


The Dodgers will look to win their second straight on Tuesday. L.A. doesn’t have a starter, but they are expected to go with an opener with Mitch White pitching a bulk of the innings. The first pitch is at 4:45 and can be seen on SportsNet LA.


Dodgers vs Cardinals               Dodgers vs Cardinals               Dodgers vs Cardinals               Dodgers vs Cardinals               Dodgers vs Cardinals               Dodgers vs Cardinals      


– Joe Arrigo

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeArrigo

Follow The Franchise on social media