A loss wouldn’t put an end to the Los Angeles Dodgers season, but L.A. is in a virtual must-win situation. On Monday night, the club looks to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the 2013 National League Championship Series.
Los Angeles hosts the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Three. The series heads to L.A. after a couple of one-run contest in St. Louis. The Cardinals took the opener in extra innings and shut out the Dodgers on Saturday.
The NL West champs have already sent their top two starters to the hill and are forced to rely on Hyun-Jin Ryu. The rookie threw for a 3.00 ERA in his first season in the Majors, but he looked like a first-year player in his only playoff start. Ryu gave up four runs in just three innings of work against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. The pressure of the postseason appeared to affect the 26-year-old.
"I was a bit nervous," Ryu said through an interpreter on Sunday. "Although, I do believe being completely nerve-free is also a bad thing as a competitor. So, I think it's finding a good balance between how anxious and how nervous I have to be tomorrow."
While L.A. has already used its top starters, St. Louis was able to take a 2-0 series lead without using its No.1 pitcher. Adam Wainwright gets the call on Monday, following two brilliant performances in the NLDS. He allowed just two runs in 16 innings to the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning both the opener and the clinching game.
Wainwright was not only terrific in the regular season, but he’s had an even better playoff career. He’s 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in October. The right-hander is prepared to continue that’s success against a hostile crowd.
"Thinking back, I know it's going to be rocking tomorrow," Wainwright said. "I don't know how many people are here, but it's a lot of fans, bigger than most stadiums and very loud. I love that though. The louder the better. That plays right into my hands."
The way the Dodgers have been hitting lately, Wainwright might not need his best stuff to have a strong outing. As a team, Los Angeles hit just .184 this past weekend. Part of the reason for their struggles has been the absence of Hanley Ramirez. The shortstop missed Game Two with a rib injury, and is questionable to start in Game Three, though it doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready to go.
Andrew Ethier has been battling an ankle injury for the entire postseason. The outfielder started Game One and made a pinch-hit appearance in Game Two. It’s still unknown if he will be able to take the field.
“If it feels good enough where we can push forward and keep going and play through it and play to our ability, then we’ll do it.” Ethier said. “We need all the hands we can right now to go out there and figure out a way to get back in this series.”
Start Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Betting Odds: St. Louis-114
TV Channel: TBS
Live Stream: Postseason.TV
Prediction: St. Louis 6, Los Angeles 2