Dodgers @ Cardinals, May 18, 2023: A 10-game road trip begins in St. Louis

Somehow, the Dodgers left Los Angeles with another series victory yesterday afternoon as they improved to a National League-best 17-7 home record. That includes an 11-1 record since April 28 after a 6-6 home record to start the year, with the impressive home run beginning with a sweep of the Cardinals before sweeping the Phillies and Padres as well. The Dodgers departed Los Angeles after taking two of three from the Twins despite needing 21 innings from the bullpen in the series as both Noah Syndergaard and Clayton Kershaw lasted four innings apiece (with the former’s game going 12 innings) and Dustin May going down after just one inning.

It’s probably useful to once again check in on those bullpen pitch totals.

PitcherMay 10May 11May 12May 13May 14May 15May 16May 17
AlmonteOff13, 127, 1
BickfordOff48, 3
BruihlOff16, 120, 128, 2AAA
FergusonPLPL16, 2/35, 1/317, 1/320, 2/3
GonzalezOff27, 1 2/317, 112, 1
GraterolOff15, 2/33, 1/316, 1 1/3
MillerOff30, 1 2/330, 2
PhillipsOff13, 1 1/311, 117, 121, 1

So with the run of 13 games in 13 days reaching a midway point today, the Dodgers could use some length from Julio Urias while facing the last place team in the National League. Amazingly that’s not the Rockies or Nationals, as the Cardinals sit at 18-26. And somehow that includes an 8-2 run over their past 10 games, otherwise the Cardinals would have been well behind their current 66/67-win pace, which would be their lowest win total since a shortened 1995 (skipping the COVID season), their first ever last-place finish ever in the NL Central and their worst win percentage since 1919.

Image Image
4:45 PM St. Louis
RF Betts CF Nootbaar (L)
1B Freeman (L) 1B Goldschmidt
C Smith C Contreras
3B Muncy (L) DH Arenado
DH Martinez RF Edman (S)
2B Vargas 3B Gorman (L)
CF Outman (L) SS DeJong
LF Peralta (L) 2B Donovan (L)
SS Rojas LF Mercado
P Urias (L) P Wainwright (R)

The Dodgers’ gave Trayce Thompson one start against a right-handed starter, but it’s back to David Peralta in left today. Peralta actually has a five-game hit streak going and is 9-for-29 in May with four strikeouts to two walks. Those nine hits include a home run and three doubles after April had just one home run and one double among 11 hits in 66 at-bats. Jason Heyward went 0-for-3 yesterday to extend his slow stretch to 0-for-17 since May 6.

For the Cardinals, Dylan Carlson just went on the IL with an ankle injury while Oscar Mercado is up from Triple-A and in the starting lineup. Tommy Edman is out in right field for a third consecutive game after not appearing there for his first 39 games of 2023 and spending just 8 innings in the outfield during the 2022 season.


Adam Wainwright starts for the Cardinals as the 41-year-old is in his 18th season in the majors for St. Louis and his 20th year in the organization after being traded for old friend J.D. Drew in December 2003.

This will be Wainwright’s third start of the season after spending more than a month on the IL with a groin injury he suffered in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Starting a pair of games for the United States, Wainwright finished with a 2.25 ERA in 8 innings while striking out five to two walks. In his two outings with the Cardinals, Wainwright went 5 innings apiece against the Red Sox and Tigers. In his season debut, Wainwright struck out five to zero walks while the second start included two strikeouts and two walks in addition to two home runs.

It probably won’t surprise you to see there’s really been no difference in Wainwright over the years.

It’s unfair to judge him off those two starts, but Wainwright’s velocity is down some more with the curve at 71.9 mph, his cutter is at 83.5 mph and his sinker is at 87.4 mph. All of those are about another mph down after they had dropped at least one over the past few years.

Right-handed batters will likely see an even split of those three pitches while left-handed batters get less cutters and a bump in sinkers or curves. Through his brief appearances so far in 2023, left-handed batters are hitting .417/.400/.708/1.108 while right-handed batters are .278/.316/.500/.816. Like his velocity dip, there’s probably not much reason to look closely at that yet as his career splits are not typically that different.

The Dodgers faced Wainwright twice in 2022, slashing .294/.455/.382/.837 across 8 1/3 innings with six strikeouts to seven walks. Wainwright’s lone start in 2021 lasted 8 1/3 innings itself, but did allow four runs on seven hits while the Cardinals held on for a 5-4 win.

Freddie Freeman‘s 9-for-27 leads the Dodgers’ lineup against Wainwright with eight strikeouts and six walks. Miguel Rojas is 4-for-11, with every other starter with just two hits or less.


After allowing 11 runs in 9 innings against the Cubs and Pirates, Urias has turned it around in his three May outings. With a 2.29 ERA in the 19 2/3 innings, Urias has struck out 17 batters to just two walks though he has still allowed three home runs during that run.

That’s been his primary issue in 2023, despite actually limiting the damage on the 10 home runs. While they account for 11 of his 22 runs allowed this season, that does mean just one of the 10 has been anything other than a solo shot. Connor Joe‘s two-run homer on April 27 is the only one Urias has allowed with anyone on base, which somewhat thanks to Urias holding a career-best 4.3 BB%.

The K% of 24.8 is holding pretty steady to 2022 and slightly outperforming most of his projections for 2023. His new cutter is getting a 32.0 Whiff%, the best for any of his pitches since 2019 when his slider and change were above 33%.

Seven of those 10 home runs have been hit by right-handed batters, with three against his changeup, though Urias still doesn’t have a major split in 2023. Batters on both sides of the plate are slugging .442, with right-handed batter just slightly ahead in batting average (.247 to .209) and on-base percentage (.280 to .244).

Nolan Arenado‘s 6-for-13 against Urias is the best among the Cardinals, with no strikeouts to two walks.


Dylan Covey‘s thanks for a crucial 4 innings in relief of May was a DFA as the Dodgers brought Justin Bruihl and Andre Jackson back to the majors.

Bruihl was down for just one day while Jackson is back for the first time since April 26. Last pitching against the Cubs on April 21, Jackson has allowed 10 runs in 11 1/3 innings in the majors. However, his last four outings in Oklahoma City have all been scoreless with 2 innings in each game. With 10 strikeouts to four walks and two hits allowed, the hope would be Jackson worked on his pitch tipping considering his April 30 outing in Triple-A resulted in three runs allowed across 2 2/3 innings.

Michael Grove is also in St. Louis with the Dodgers after last pitching in the majors on April 20. Out with a groin strain, Grove was last mentioned throwing batting practice to J.D. Martinez at Camelback Ranch back on May 9.


First pitch from Busch Stadium in St. Louis is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.