St. Louis (68-52) at Los Angeles (70-49)

Cloudy Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Tue Aug 18, 2009
  • TV: FSMW, KCAL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Outstanding pitching has helped St. Louis make a run at catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL’s best record. Mitchell Boggs(notes) is one of the few starters who has not helped the Cardinals’ cause.

Injury fill-in Boggs looks to help the Cardinals continue their dominant play as they visit a struggling Dodgers team Tuesday night.

St. Louis (68-52) got a strong start from Chris Carpenter(notes) to win the opener of this three-game series 3-2 on Monday night.

The Cardinals, in first place in the Central, are closing in on the West-leading Dodgers (70-49) for the NL’s top record. Philadelphia (66-49), the East leader, is also in the running.

“I don’t know what our record is,” Carpenter said. “I do know we’ve got a chance to win every time we come to the ballpark.”

While Los Angeles has lost seven of 10, St. Louis has posted a 3.10 ERA in winning nine of 10. The only loss the Cardinals suffered during that span was Boggs’ first start since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace Todd Wellemeyer(notes) (elbow).

Boggs (1-1, 3.78 ERA) gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings, suffering a 5-4 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday night. This will be the right-hander’s first appearance against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles will counter with Chad Billingsley(notes) (11-6, 3.73), who is pitching for the first time in 11 days after leaving his last start due to a left hamstring strain. He gave up two runs in six innings before being pulled from a 9-5, 12-inning loss to Atlanta on Aug. 7.

The right-hander has surrendered three runs or fewer in three of his last four starts.

Billingsley is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in four starts versus the Cardinals. He had one of his worst outings of the season at St. Louis on July 28, allowing six runs and walking six in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-0 loss.

Rick Ankiel(notes), who has never faced Billingsley, put St. Louis ahead Monday with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. The center fielder was in a 1-for-17 slump before his ninth homer of the season.

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols(notes) hit his major league-leading 39th home run. He is batting .404 with five homers, six doubles and 13 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak.

Pujols has gotten extra protection in the lineup with Matt Holliday(notes) batting behind him in the cleanup spot. The veteran left fielder, acquired from Oakland in a trade July 24, is hitting .449 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 22 games since joining St. Louis.

Holliday, though, had to leave Monday after fouling a pitch off his leg in the ninth. His status for this game is uncertain.

Los Angeles can’t afford any injuries to its lineup, particularly versus St. Louis. The Dodgers have lost four of five against the Cardinals this season, scoring two runs or fewer in each of the defeats.

Los Angeles has been held under four runs in four of its last five games overall.

Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez(notes) is 1 for 12 over his last three games and has driven in three runs in his last 10. He’s batting .143 with no RBIs in five games against St. Louis this season.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Boggs Bos vs. C. Billingsley Phi
2-3 Record 12-11
4.19 ERA 4.03
46 K 179
33 BB 86
1.79 WHIP 1.32

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Aug 18