Dodgers @ Cardinals April 8, 2019: Ryu vs. Mikolas

The Dodgers open a four game series in St. Louis this evening, and it is their first real test of the young season. The Dodgers went 8-2 against the NL West, but now they’re facing a team expected to compete with them for the pennant for the first time. The Cardinals have opened the season 4-5, so like several other good teams they have scuffled out of the gate. The Padres spoiled their home-opening series, so now they’ll be extra-eager to quiet the Dodgers’ red-hot bats.

Dodgers
Cardinals
4:45 p.m.
St Louis, MO.
LF
Pederson
3B
Carpenter
SS
Seager
1B
Goldschmidt
1B
Bellinger
RF
Martínez
CF
Pollock
LF
Ozuna
3B
Muncy
SS
DeJong
RF
Verdugo
C
Molina
2B
Hernández CF Bader
C
Martin
2B
Wong
P
Ryu (L)
P
Mikolas (R)

Speaking of those bats, there has been a lineup shuffle today. Justin Turner has the day off, and the corresponding move was to get Alex Verdugo a start. Since Verdugo doesn’t play third, things had to get a little convoluted. Cody Bellinger is getting the start at first. Max Muncy remains in the lineup, making his second start at third base this year. I guess the Dodgers really want to test the “his defense is really better now” theory. The rest of the lineup is pretty normal, with Russell Martin getting today’s start at catcher.

The shuffled lineup will be facing off against Miles Mikolas, who has not been sharp this year. Mikolas has pitched ten innings combined across his first two starts, and has been bitten by the home run bug, allowing four already this season. These Dodgers, who have 24 homers in their first ten games, are not really the team you want to solve your home run problem against. Mikolas mixes four-seams, two-seams, curves, and sliders in about equal measure, with the fastballs topping out around 95. His velocity has been fine in his mini-slump, so his issues are more than likely just a blip. The Dodgers want to make it a bigger blip.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will get his third start of the season tonight, and he was nothing short of sensational in his first two. Across his first 13 innings this year, he has struck out 13 and walked none. Ryu also struck out 12 against no walks in spring training, so it has been quite awhile since he issued a free pass. Ryu’s strikeout-to-walk ratio was almost 6 in his abbreviated campaign last season, and thus far his control is just as sharp. The bullpen is pretty tired after last weekend’s series in Denver, so the Dodgers are hoping that Ryu can provide some much-needed length with this start.

This will be the first time the Dodgers see former division rival Paul Goldschmidt in his new uniform. Goldschmidt has had an unusual start to the season. In his first series for the Cardinals, against the Brewers, he hit four home runs. Since then, he’s managed one hit (another homer) in 24 plate appearances. He won’t stay that cold for long, but the Dodgers will hope that his history against them in a Diamondbacks uniform won’t follow him to St. Louis.

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Clayton Kershaw is almost back:

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.