Monday, October 06, 2014
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Preview: Dodgers at Cardinals

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[October 06, 2014]  The St. Louis Cardinals attempt to gain the upper hand in their National League Division Series when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 3 on Monday. NL Central champion St. Louis pulled off an improbable comeback against Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw and posted a 10-9 victory in the opener and rallied to forge a tie in Game 2 before Matt Kemp led off the eighth inning with a homer to give the Dodgers a 3-2 triumph. Zach Greinke pitched a whale of a game, allowing two hits over seven scoreless frames before being replaced after initially taking the mound to start the eighth.

Los Angeles will need to find a way to control Matt Carpenter, who belted a solo homer and a three-run double in the opener and hit the tying two-run shot in Game 2. The Dodgers have a pair of hot hitters themselves, with one being very unlikely. Kemp is 5-for-9 over the first two games while A.J. Ellis has recorded five hits in eight at-bats (4-for-5 in Game 1) with a homer, two RBIs and four runs scored.

TV: 9:07 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 3.38 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH John Lackey (14-10, 3.82)

Ryu will be making his first start since Sept. 12, when he was battered for four runs and five hits in one inning before exiting with shoulder inflammation. The 27-year-old South Korean lost two of his last three decisions but allowed more than three runs only once in his last nine starts. Ryu is 1-1 in two career regular-season outings against the Cardinals, losing at St. Louis on June 27, but scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings en route to victory in Game 3 of last year's NL Championship Series.

Lackey was a hard-luck loser to the Cubs in his final regular-season start, allowing just two runs over 6 2/3 innings at Chicago on Sept. 24. The 35-year-old, who went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 10 outings after being acquired from Boston, yielded fewer than three earned runs in seven of his last eight turns. Lackey is 5-3 lifetime with a 1.93 ERA against Los Angeles in the regular season and 6-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 career postseason games, including three relief appearances.

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1. Los Angeles RF Yasiel Puig has struck out in each of his last five at-bats, including all four in Game 2.

2. St. Louis won all three home games against the Dodgers in last year's NLCS.

3. RHP Dan Haren is tentatively slated to start Game 4 for Los Angeles on Tuesday, while RHP Shelby Miller makes his first career postseason start for St. Louis.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2

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