The Los Angeles Dodgers look to continue their offensive surge and try to reverse the result of last year’s embarrassing season series against the St. Louis Cardinals when the teams open a three-game series Monday at Chavez Ravine.
The Cardinals (15-20) won all seven games over Los Angeles last season, outscoring the Dodgers 35-8 to sweep the season series for the first time in the 115-year history of the rivalry.
Los Angeles (23-15) scored more runs Sunday then it did in last season’s entire series against the Cardinals, though, as it amassed a season-high 18 hits in a 10-5 win over Cincinnati. The Dodgers scored 19 runs in sweeping the three-game series from the Reds.
“It’s nice having a lineup like we have, with a lot of balance,” left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. “We all rely on each other. And when things aren’t going well, there’s other guys who have to pick up the slack.”
First baseman Nomar Garciaparra went 3-for-5 with three RBIs on Sunday, and finished the weekend series 8-for-13. Center fielder Juan Pierre went 2-for-4 for his fourth consecutive multihit game and also stole a base.
While the NL West-leading Dodgers’ offense seems to be clicking, St. Louis has been shut out a major league-high six times this season, including Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to San Diego.
The Cardinals have scored a major league worst 110 runs, and have failed to score at all in four of their last 10 games.
“We’re not doing our job,” center fielder Jim Edmonds told the team’s official Web site. “We need to make a better effort, have a little more energy and do a better job of scoring runs. It’s pretty sickening what’s going on out there. This is a better team than the way we’re playing, and we’ve got to figure it out real quick.”
Edmonds is batting a mere .158 (6-for-38) in his last 11 games, while slugger Albert Pujols is 3-for-27 (.111) in his last eight.
Pujols was stellar last season against Los Angeles, though, batting .444 (12-for-27) with three homers, four doubles and eight RBIs.
Brad Thompson (1-0, 4.03 ERA) makes his second start of the season for the Cardinals on Monday.
Thompson, who started the year in the bullpen, had an effective first start Tuesday against Colorado, allowing one run in five innings of a 4-1 win, although he did not factor in the decision,
The right-hander has made two career relief appearances against the Dodgers, allowing one hit in three scoreless innings.
Los Angeles starter Brett Tomko (1-3, 4.33) looks to build off his first win of the season when he takes the hill.
Tomko has made quality starts in four of his six outings this season, but finally caught a break his last time out. He threw no-hit ball for 5 1-3 innings against Florida on Wednesday, and finished allowing three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of the 5-3 victory.
“I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball decent this season; I’ve just been coming up short,” Tomko said. “So it’s nice to get that first one on the board.”
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA in 13 games - 12 starts - against the Cardinals, who he hasn’t faced since 2004.