Dodgers @ Cardinals July 22, 2016: McCarthy vs. Wacha

5:15 p.m. PT
St. Louis
2B Utley CF Pham
SS Seager SS Diaz
3B Turner RF Piscotty
1B González LF Holliday
LF Kendrick 1B Adams
C Grandal C Molina
CF Pederson 3B Gyorko
RF Van Slyke 2B Wong
McCarthy (R)
Wacha (R)

The Dodgers took two out of three games from the Cardinals when the teams faced off at Dodger Stadium in May. Tonight, they begin a three-game series in St. Louis.

Both teams are in second place in their respective divisions, the Dodgers four games back of the Giants (who are 0-5 post-All-Star break), and the Cardinals six and a half games down to the Cubs. While it’s arguably still a little early in the season to be focusing on the wild card race, the Dodgers are currently leading there, with the Cardinals a game behind the Marlins for the second slot.

Brandon McCarthy will make his fourth start of the season for Los Angeles, and so far, his return has been triumphant. In his first three games back, McCarthy has allowed just three runs in 16 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 1.69 (1.96 FIP).

Perhaps what’s been most impressive about McCarthy are his strikeout numbers. McCarthy has struck out 22 batters, yielding a 37.9% strikeout rate and a 12.38 K/9 (versus just a 6.9% walk rate and a 2.25 BB/9).

McCarthy’s fastball velocity is down about one MPH from the past few seasons, but, as Brim put it:

One thing to keep an eye on tonight is McCarthy’s pitch count. McCarthy hasn’t been on a specified pitch limit since being reinstated from the DL, but he’s yet to throw more than 77 pitches in a game.

The Dodgers will face Michael Wacha, a guy they could’ve drafted in 2012 if they hadn’t been too busy drafting Corey Seager. If Dodger fans still feel traumatized from that 2013 NLCS, Wacha’s 2016 numbers may provide some consolation. In 19 games, Wacha has a 4.45 ERA (3.64 FIP) and a 1.42 WHIP across 109.1 innings. The Cardinals are 9-10 in his starts.

Speaking of Seager, he’s back in the lineup tonight after missing three games due to a stomach bug. Yasmani Grandal, who was unavailable yesterday dealing with the same issue, is also back in the lineup.

Yasiel Puig, who — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — injured his right hamstring running to first base yesterday, is not in today’s lineup. The latest on him:

Looks like Julio Urías is heading back to OKC after his spot start yesterday, and the Dodgers are back to having three catchers:

It might be a little while until we find out the Dodgers’ next move vis-à-vis the starting rotation:

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About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.