Cardinals @ Dodgers August 20, 2018: Wood looks to thwart the Carpenter and Kenley returns

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers (67-58) finally secured their first series win of the month on Sunday, capping off the series in Seattle with a definitive 12-1 victory over the Mariners. The Boys in Blue return home for a six-game homestand to finally wrap up this difficult portion of their season after the break. The scorching hot Cardinals (68-57) are in town for a three-game set starting Monday night at Dodger Stadium. The Redbirds are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and have gone 14-4 in the month of August so far and have won seven straight series. They did fall out of the second Wild Card spot after their loss to the Brewers on Sunday, reflecting just how tough the NL is this year.

7:10 PM
Los Angeles
Wong LF Taylor
Gomber (L)
Wood (L)

Alex Wood (7-6, 3.51 ERA, 3.48 FIP) looks to continue his stellar season in his second start since coming off the DL. He has a 1.59 ERA in the second half, and he hasn’t allowed a home run to a left-handed batter all season. Wood hasn’t faced the Cardinals since May 15, 2016, his only career start against St. Louis. He allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts in 6 innings for a no-decision.

The Cardinals are contenders this season after being plagued with inconsistency the last couple of years. After they missed out on making the playoffs in 2017, it became the first time the team missed the postseason in consecutive years since 2007-2008. The Cards finished the 2017 season with 83 wins, three less than the previous year. Their playoff hopes are definitely still alive, and they always play tough against the Dodgers as our tormented memories remind us often.

Perennial Dodger killer Matt Carpenter is in the midst of a MVP caliber season. He has 33 home runs on the season with a .957 OPS. He’s 1-for-2 with a home run and two walks in 6 plate appearances against Wood.

While Carpenter is of course a historical figure in the history of the Dodgers and Cardinals, the 2018 team has had quite a few standout seasons from unlikely contributors on their pitching staff. I don’t think anyone predicted that the Cards might end up going to the playoffs behind guys like John Gant, Tyson Ross and Austin Gomber.

Rookie left-hander Gomber (3-0, 2.89 ERA, 4.26 FIP) makes his first career start against the Dodgers and fifth career start overall in the series opener. Gomber, a former fourth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University (?), has been an important asset out of the St. Louis bullpen and rotation.

His nasty curveball is very GIF-worthy.

So, yeah. The Dodgers are hitting .229 vs. LHP this year. Gomber has had some command issues (4.6 BB/9) and is generally a fly ball pitcher, so perhaps the lineup can take advantage and crush a few more dongs to ring in the homestand.


Dennis Santana is close to returning to the mound, and Julio Urias will throw in Tulsa tomorrow.

Kenley Jansen‘s back. The big guy missed nearly two weeks on the DL with an irregular heartbeat, but he’s no longer on blood thinners. The bullpen has been a mess since, and it will be great to get the anchor back. Zac Rosscup lands on the DL with a left calf strain.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this must-watch video featuring several of the Dodgers minor leaguers.

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed … is a Dodgers World Series win.

About 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.