Los Angeles (56-55) at St. Louis (62-52)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Tue Aug 5, 2008
  • TV: PRIME, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Dodgers were hoping Manny Ramirez would provide some offensive punch when they acquired him at the trade deadline. The move is already paying dividends.

Ramirez looks to continue his red-hot hitting Tuesday night when Los Angeles opens a three-game road set against Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Dodgers (56-55) obtained Ramirez from Boston in a three-team deal just before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The 11-time All-Star and 2004 World Series MVP made an immediate impact, going 8-for-13 (.615) with two homers and five RBIs in three games - two wins - against NL West-leading Arizona.

That outstanding series came after he hit .299 with 20 homers and 68 RBIs with the Red Sox before falling out of favor with the club.

He helped the second-place Dodgers remain in a tight race with the Diamondbacks in the West by going 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs in Sunday’s 9-3 victory.

“He certainly changes the personality of our lineup,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of the left fielder. “That presence is going to help other people get better, because they’re not going to want to pitch to Manny - especially with men on base. So it figures that the guys at the top of the lineup are going to get better pitches to hit.”

Ramirez is hitting .368 (21-for-57) with four homers and 13 RBIs in 17 games against the Cardinals (62-52), including helping the Red Sox sweep them to win the 2004 World Series.

He’s 6-for-22 (.273) with two homers against Carpenter, St. Louis’ scheduled starter Tuesday.

Carpenter (0-0, 2.25 ERA) is getting his first start at Busch Stadium since April 1, 2007, nine days before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner made his first appearance since that surgery on Wednesday, yielding one run and five hits in four innings of the Cardinals’ 7-2 win at Atlanta.

“It was fun,” Carpenter said. “It was something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It’s just good to get back out there and compete. I went out there with the mind-set that I would go as hard as I could for as long as I could.”

The right-hander is expected to see an increase from his 67 pitches against the Braves as he attempts to help the Cardinals rebound from Sunday’s 5-4 loss to NL East-leading Philadelphia.

Carpenter is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers. He hasn’t faced them since July 14, 2006.

The Cardinals look for Albert Pujols to snap out of his funk after he went hitless in 10 at-bats in three games - two losses - against the Phillies. The first baseman had gone 12-for-25 (.480) with three homers and 11 RBIs in the previous six games.

Pujols hopes a home series against the Dodgers can help. He’s hitting .342 with seven homers, 24 RBIs and 18 walks in 22 games against them at St. Louis. He went 3-for-11 with two doubles and two RBIs as the Cardinals took two of three at Los Angeles from May 23-25.

The Dodgers give the ball to Chad Billingsley (11-9, 3.05), who seeks a third consecutive victory.

The right-hander has allowed two runs and 10 hits in 16 2-3 innings over his last two starts. He was outstanding Wednesday, throwing his first career shutout by scattering five hits and striking out eight in a 4-0 victory over San Francisco.

Billingsley is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in three games - two starts - against the Cardinals.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Billingsley Phi vs. C. Carpenter StL
16-10 Record 0-1
3.14 ERA 1.76
201 K 7
80 BB 4
1.34 WHIP 1.30

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Aug 5