Cardinals @ Dodgers August 6, 2019: Mikolas vs. Kershaw

In the series opener, the Dodgers (75-40) beat the Cardinals (58-53) last night by a score of 8-0. Tony Gonsolin allowed only two hits over six innings, and that was all the Cardinals offense could muster. The Cardinals are currently only 2.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and just half a game back in the NL Wild Card. That means that every game is crucial for them, and tonight they’ll send out the right-handed Miles Mikolas against Clayton Kershaw.

Cardinals
Dodgers
7:10 P.M.
Los Angeles
CF
Fowler
RF
Pederson
RF
Martinez
2B
Muncy
1B
Goldschmidt
3B
Turner
LF
Ozuna
1B
Bellinger
SS
DeJong
SS
Seager
3B
Carpenter
C
Smith
2B
Edman LF Beaty
C
Knizner
CF
Negron
P
Mikolas (R)
P
Kershaw (L)

Cody Bellinger will continue playing first base as Joc Pederson once again starts in right field. Matt Beaty and Kristopher Negron will start once again, both of whom are coming off a two hit game last night. All the left-handed starters are in the lineup against the right-handed Mikolas, minus Alex Verdugo who just landed on the 10-Day IL with a right oblique strain.

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Here’s how Mikolas and Kershaw matchup among 94 qualified starters with 100+ innings pitched.

Mikolas had an excellent 2018 season, featuring a 2.83 ERA and 3.28 FIP — good for 4.3 fWAR. He’s struggled to build on that as shown by his numbers, but he’s still been solid for the Cardinals. He hardly walks any batters, meaning the offense will have to go out and hit him, which is more doable than last year. The difference between his great 2018 season and mediocre 2019 season comes down to him allowing more home runs per fly-ball. That’s essentially it — everything else is almost identical to what he did last season. He’s coming off a strong stretch over his last four starts where he’s allowed just six earned runs over 26.2 innings. That’s good for an ERA of 2.03, a FIP of 3.36, and a WHIP of 1.09. He’s been much better as of late, so the offense will have to be ready to hit tonight. Mikolas has a 5.19 FIP and 1.51 WHIP against left-handed batters this season, so he’ll have a tough matchup.

Clayton Kershaw has continued to be one of the most steady top tier pitchers in the league.

Kershaw had a very unusual start against the Padres last week. He allowed five walks over six innings, which was completely out of line with his standard performance. He had allowed just 22 walks over his first 18 starts, so it was odd to see him lack control last week. Even so, he managed to allow only two runs over those six innings. He has now made 19 starts on the season and is yet to go less than six innings which is pretty incredible. He didn’t have his best stuff at all last week and still managed to grind out a quality start. Again, since July 5, Kershaw has just a 1.74 ERA and a 2.73 FIP striking out 40 batters over his last 31 innings.

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The Players’ Weekend jerseys were announced, the best of which is clearly “Negron James”.

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Gavin Lux had a 1.356 OPS in his first month in Triple-A, and rightfully so he won PCL Player of the Month. He’s good!

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Caleb Ferguson returns as Alex Verdugo goes on the IL, who will likely need more than the minimum 10 days to return. Gonsolin was optioned to Triple-A as Hyun-Jin Ryu will be returning very soon. Gonsolin will likely make a start for OKC before returning to LA in either a relief or starting role.

The rest of the injury updates are — David Freese is still nursing his hamstring and the team is letting him work under his own timetable. Ross Stripling has a sore neck, which will delay his rehab start and thus delay his return. A.J. Pollock is available off the bench tonight after minor groin pain the last few days.

Ryu will return on Sunday and it looks like Walker Buehler and Kenta Maeda will make the other two starts this weekend against Arizona.

First pitch is at 7:10 PT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Allan Yamashige
Just a guy living in Thousand Oaks, CA who happens to love the Dodgers and statistics. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.