Cardinals @ Dodgers May 23, 2017: Kershaw vs. Lynn; Forsythe returns

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

After a much-needed day off, the Dodgers resume their homestand and open a three-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Both clubs look to gain ground in their division while the postseason rivals face each other seven times in a span of 10 days. The Cardinals (22-19) are 1 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central, and the Dodgers (26-19) are third place in the NL West, 2 1/2 games back of the Rockies.

Cardinals
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
 Fowler
3B
Forsythe
RF
Piscotty
SS
Seager
1B
Carpenter
C
Grandal
2B
Gyorko
LF
Bellinger
C
Molina
1B
González
3B
Peralta
CF
Pederson
SS
Diaz 2B Utley
LF
Grichuk
RF
Puig
P
Lynn (R)
P
Kershaw (L)

Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.15 ERA, 2.89 FIP) goes for his fourth straight win as he looks to build off his seven-inning scoreless gem against the Giants in his last start. He was able to utilize his slider effectively, throwing it 86-89 mph rather than in the low 90s where it hasn’t been as lethally sharp. It’s been interesting to watch Kersh work through this issue, but it also goes to show how spoiled we’ve been during his historic reign of dominance with the Dodgers. A “struggling” Kershaw (a 3.4% walk rate feels strange) is still better than most.

Postseason narratives aside, the supreme southpaw has pitched effectively against the Cards during the regular season. He is 6-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 15 starts against St. Louis, with 100 strikeouts in 96 1/3 innings.

Mike Matheny sends his big right-hander Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.78 ERA, 5.02 FIP) to the mound for the series opener. Lynn is 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers. Five of those starts were at Dodger Stadium where he is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 25 innings. His 21.1% strikeout rate and 9% walk rate this season are consistent with his career averages even after missing all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery.

Yasiel Puig, who returns to the Dodgers’ lineup after missing two games with back tightness, is 6-for-12 against Lynn with three walks. Although Puig has hit Lynn well, the St. Louis starter has limited right-handed batters to a .133 average this year.

The big news to come out of the St. Louis camp last week was their trade with the Atlanta Braves. They sent Matt Adams and cash considerations in exchange for minor league infielder Juan Yepez. The Braves suffered a major blow when Freddie Freeman was hit by a pitch and broke his wrist last Wednesday, as Freeman was leading the NL with 14 home runs. The Cardinals had too many Matts at first base. With Carpenter getting the majority of starts at first, Adams will get more playing time with the Braves. The move also allows for a reprieve, for now, of rehashed bad memories of the catastrophic home run Adams hit off Kershaw in Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS.

——

Tuesday also marks the return of Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers who reinstated the infielder from the 10-day disabled list. In turn, Josh Ravin was optioned back down to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Forsythe missed 30 games after suffering a fracture of his right big toe on April 18. He went 3-for-14 in six rehab games with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Forsythe starts at third base, batting leadoff.

Get well soon, Tolesy.

The Dodgers and Cardinals both look to be in the mix for postseason contention, and it’s likely that they could end up facing each other again come October. We’ve had to deal with the repeated retelling of Kershaw’s postseason performances against the Red Birds ad nauseam, so it always feels good to beat them.

Reminder: the game will be televised on ESPN as well as SNLA.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.