Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (29-18) at St. Louis Cardinals (20-27)


TOUGH BREAK: The Los Angeles Dodgers battled all night, erasing a three-run lead once but failed to do so again in the ninth inning, falling to the Cardinals, 6-5 on Saturday Night. The Dodgers dropped to 16-5 in their last 21 games and are now 4-2 against the Cardinals this season. Los Angeles will need to win the finale against the Cardinals to avoid their first series loss since dropping two of three against the Pirates from April 24-26. Following the matinee today, the Dodgers will head to Atlanta to play the first place Braves beginning tomorrow night at 7:20 p.m. at Truist Park. Los Angeles (.617) owns the second-best winning percentage in the National League, behind the Atlanta Braves, who bolster a .622 winning percentage.

OFF THE PLATE: The Dodgers fell behind in the first two frames and trailed 3-0 before J.D. Martinez clubbed a three-run homer in the sixth inning to tie the game at 3-3. The Dodgers fell behind in the bottom of the eighth inning as Nolan Gorman clobbered a three-run homer off Victor González (first runs allowed all season). However, the Dodgers rallied in the top of the ninth inning, scoring two runs on an RBI double by Jason Heyward and a sacrifice fly by Will Smith. The Dodgers had the tying-run on second base, but Mookie Betts was called out on strikes to end the game. Betts notched a hit in the game and in the month of May, he is slashing .271/.366/.629 with six homers and 17 RBI. He is amongst the National League leaders in several categories in the month of May, including extra-base hits (T-3rd, 12th), homers (T-6th), RBI (T-4th), runs (T-6th, 14) and OPS (10th).

KING KERSH: Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw takes the mound this afternoon looking for his seventh victory of the season, which would tie him with Shane McClanahan for the Major League lead. Kershaw pitched a season-low 4.0 innings on Tuesday night, allowing two runs on seven hits in a loss to the Twins. With 203 career victories, he is seven shy of passing Don Drysdale for the second most in Dodger franchise history. Kershaw sits alone at 21st on the all-time strikeout list and is chasing former teammate and still current big leaguer Zack Greinke for 20th place:

All-Time Major League Strikeout Leaders

  1. Zack Greinke 2,918
  2. Clayton Kershaw 2,870

THE GLUE: Dodger catcher Will Smith made a pinch-hit appearance, delivering with a sacrifice fly in the ninth. He is batting .327 (18-for-55) with two doubles, four homers in the month of May with a 1.006 OPS. The Dodgers are 21-8 (.724) when Smith has appeared in a game. The backstop’s .724 winning percentage while in a game leads the National League and is fifth in the Majors:

Winning Percentage in the Lineup – MLB
Ryan McKenna BAL .765
Yandy Diaz TB .744
Wander Franco TB .733
Manuel Margot TB .730
Will Smith LAD .724

FABULOUS FREDDIE: Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 10 games, finishing with two hits and a run scored last night. He is batting .462 (18-for-39) with three homers, five doubles, one triple, 13 RBI and nine runs scored during the streak and has hit safely in all but two games in May. Freeman is tied with Adolis Garcia for third in the Major Leagues with 38 runs scored, trailing just Ronald Acuña Jr. (43)
and Marcus Semien (41). He clubbed his 300th career homer on Thursday night and became just the fifth player in franchise history to accomplish that feat in a Dodger uniform:

Duke Snider JULY 7, 1957 Ebbets Field Dick Drott, Cubs
Gil Hodges April 23, 1958 L. A. Coliseum Dick Drott, Cubs
Gary Sheffield July 21, 2001 Coors Field Denny Neagle, Rockies
Adrian Gonzalez Aug. 8, 2016 Dodger Stadium Junichi Tazawa, Red Sox
Freddie Freeman May 18, 2023 Busch Stadium Genesis Cabrera, Cardinals
His 300th career homer came in grand fashion, clubbing his fourth career Grand Slam. He became
only the second person in Major League Baseball history to hit his No. 300 for a Grand Slam, joining
Ruben Sierra, who clubbed his 300th on August 28, 2004 for the Yankees at Toronto.

LONG BALLS: The Dodgers connected for another homer last night and have 76 on the season, which is tied for second in the Majors with Atlanta, behind only the Tampa Bay Rays (90). Los Angeles’ six Grand Slams on the campaign leads the Majors, ahead of Tampa Bay and Texas, who each have four. Los Angeles is also second in the Majors with 39 games with at least one homer, behind the Rays (41), who have homered in all but six games this season


  • Over nine starts, the Texas native owns a 6-3 record with a 2.52 ERA (15 ER/53.2 IP) with 63 strikeouts against 11 walks and has generated a
    1.02 WHIP
  • Notched his 200th career win in his start on April 18 against the Mets, making him the only Los Angeles Dodger to win 200 games with the same franchise…joins Don Sutton (233) and Don Drysdale (209) on the Dodger all-time list…
  • Currently 21st all-time on the Major League strikeout list with 2,870…he needs 130 more to become the 20th player in Major League history with 3,000 strikeouts
  • Has fired 6.0+ innings in seven out of his nine starts this season
  • He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April after posting a 5-1 record with a 1.89 ERA (8 ER/38.0 IP) and 41 strikeouts nd a 1.76 WHIP


  • Will face St. Louis for the 21st time in his career…is 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA (41 ER/131.1 IP) and 143 strikeouts against 40 walks
  • Last faced the club on April 29, tossing seven scoreless innings while giving up only two hits and sitting down a season-high tying nine batters


RECENT REDBIRDS: The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers wrap up a four-game series with today’s homestand finale at Busch Stadium … St. Louis is 4-2 over its seven-game homestand against division-rival Milwaukee (2-1) and Los Angeles (2-1) … With a win today, the Cardinals will have won their fourth consecutive series (at Cubs, at Red Sox, vs. Brewers).

ROAD TRIPPING REDBIRDS: After today’s game, St. Louis is scheduled to play 13 of the next 15 games on the road (May 22-June 7), beginning with a seven-game Ohio road trip through Cincinnati (May 22-25) and Cleveland (May 26-28) … Their only two home games over that time span are with cross-state rival Kansas City starting on Memorial Day.

FLIGHT PATTERN: Winners of 10 of their last 13 games (May 7-present), the Cardinals enter today tied with Cincinnati for 4th place in the NL Central, 5.0 games behind first place Milwaukee/Pittsburgh … St. Louis is within 5.0 games of the division lead for the first time since April 17 (gaining 5.0 games in the division since May 7) … The Cardinals were in last place for 24 straight days (April 25-May 20) … Today is the 10th game of a season-high 19 consecutive without an off-day (7-2 record).

ANGRY BIRDS: Since May 7, the Cardinals lead MLB in win pct. (.769, 10-3), runs scored (91), runs per game (7.00), slugging (.510), OPS (.854), tied for the MLB lead in wins (10) and stolen bases (17), and rank 2nd to the Bronx Bombers in homers (28), RBI (87), and total bases (229).

BURGER PHONE HOTLINE: The Cardinals are 5th in MLB in home runs (66) this season while ranking 3rd in the month of May (34) to the Yankees (37) and Braves (35) … The Redbirds sport a 17-13 record in games when they go yard this season, but are 3-14 in homerless games.

GOING STREAKING WITH THE NOLANS: Nolan Arenado (17-45, .368/.408/.822) and Nolan Gorman (16-37, .432/.512/1.000) are both riding 11-game hitting streaks, tied for the 5th-longest active in MLB … Gorman’s 11-gamer is a career best while Arenado’s hit streak is his longest since joining the Cardinals (2021-present).

GO-AHEAD GORMAN: Nolan Gorman hit his NL-leading 7th go-ahead home run of the season last night, which trails only reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge (8) in MLB … Of Gorman’s 13 homers this season, six have come in either the 8th or 9th inning, the most in the major leagues … Gorman enters today leading the NL in slugging pct. (.640) and OPS+ (181) while ranking 2nd in RBI (39) and OPS (1.032).

THE HEAT IS ON: The Cardinals rank 4th in MLB in stolen base percentage (86.0%, 37-for-43), which currently is their best single-season mark in franchise history, topping the 2021 Redbirds (80.2%, 89-for-111) … Paul Goldschmidt has swiped 30 consecutive stolen bases without being caught (Aug. 11, 2019-present), MLB’s longest active stolen base streak and the 2nd-longest in franchise history to Vince Coleman (50 straight SB from Sept. 18, 1988-July 26, 1989) since caught stealing was first compiled in the NL in 1951 – Elias

CORNERSTONE COMBO: Paul Goldschmidt (33 HR, 103 RBI) and Nolan Arenado (30 HR, 97 RBI) are the top two active leaders in home runs and RBI against the Dodgers … The duo is attempting to continue where Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial left off, the all-time MLB leader against the Dodgers in runs (299), hits (522), RBI (270) and 3rd in home runs (74) … Goldy’s 33 dingers are his most against any opponent


NL Ranks: Losses (4, T-9th), Runs (29, T-5th), Earned Runs (27, 6th), Ground Into Double Plays (13, 1st), GIDP/9 IP (2.53, 1st), Walks (29, 2nd)

  • Making his 10th start of the season and his 7th career start vs. the Dodgers. Marks his 108th career start (112th app.).
  • Currently has 649 career strikeouts, needs three to tie Slim Sallee (1908-16) for 25th all-time in Cardinals history with 652.
  • Has walked 5 or more batters in three of his nine starts.
  • Owns a career mark of 8-4, 3.56 ERA in 18 career starts in the month of May.
  • Trails only Wainwright & DeJong in years of Cardinals service on 40-player roster.
  • Has held his opposition to a .211 career batting average, ranking 28th among MLB pitchers with more than 500 career innings pitched in the Live Ball Era (post-1920).
  • Missed a total of 122 games in 2022 due to a right shoulder injury (64 games from April 7-June 14 and another 58 games from June 27-Sept.4). Missed 88 games in 2021 with an oblique injury.
  • Since becoming a full-time starting pitcher in 2018, ranks 15th among MLB pitchers with a 10.32 strikeouts/9 IP (min. 500 IP).
  • St. Louis sports a 57-50 overall record in Flaherty’s 107 career starts. In his first 51 starts from his MLB debut (9/1/2017) until the 2019 All-Star Break, St. Louis went 21-30 (.412). In his last 56 starts (July 16, 2019-present), St. Louis is 36-20 (.643).
  • In 107 career starts, is 35-10 when receiving 2+ runs of support, 28-1 when receiving 3+ runs, and 24-0 with 4+ runs of support. Has received 2 or fewer runs of support in 64 of 107 (59.8%) career starts. Has 23 starts with zero runs of support.
  • Is 21-15 in 53 career games (50 starts) at Busch Stadium. His .193 opponent batting average is the lowest in stadium history (min. 100 IP), while his 309 strikeouts (8th) ranks in the Top 10 among all pitchers in the ballpark’s history (since 2006). Trails Chris Carpenter (356) by 57 for 7th all-time in stadium history.


  • Pitched his first scoreless outing of 2023 with a three-hit performance with season-highs of 7.0 innings and 10 strikeouts. Was his 10th double-digit strikeout game of his career and 4th against the Brewers.

5/15 MIL W 18-1 W-3 7.0 3 0 0 2 10 0 105-70

  • Struck out a season-high 10 batters vs. MIL (5/15), his 10th career double-digit strikeout game and 4th against the Brewers. Was his 24th career scoreless start.
  • Surrendered career-highs in runs (10), earned runs, tied his career-high in hits (9) and was removed after 2.1 innings as the Cardinals lost 11-7 at home to the Angels.
  • Allowed 7 hits in 4.2 IP on 4/28 at LAD, snapping his string of allowing six or fewer hits in 30 consecutive starts dating back to Sept. 20, 2020, longest such streak in Cardinals history. Jack hold the top three streaks in Cardinals history (22 from 2019-20 & 21 in 2018). His streak of 30 such games was one game shy of tying Shohei Ohtani and Nolan Ryan (31) for 5th place all-time in MLB history.
  • Earned his 2nd win of the season and struck out a season-high nine batters allowing just three runs on five hits over 6.0 IP on 4/23 at SEA. All the action but one single occurred in the first two innings and he retired 12 of his last 13 batters faced including seven by strikeout.
  • Took a 6-3 loss allowing four runs on four hits over a season-high 6.0 innings vs. ATL (4/17). Induced two double plays moving his National League leading total to seven on the season. Retired 10 consecutive batters from the 2nd-5th innings.
  • Ran his streak of consecutive games with six hits or less to 27 in a 4-0 loss at MIL (4/7). Allowed just two runs on four hits. Walked six batters in the game, first Cardinals pitcher to walk 6+ batters in consecutive games since Carlos Martínez (2018).
Mikey Balhan Sports

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