The Los Angeles Dodgers have needed only one run to pick up a victory three times already on their homestand, but they may find it a challenge to score at all against Adam Wainwright(notes) on Wednesday night.
Coming off his first career shutout, Wainwright hopes to stop the Dodgers from completing another three-game sweep of his St. Louis Cardinals, who are in danger of losing four in a row for the first time in a year.
Los Angeles (35-24) swept the Cardinals in an NL division series last year, and the club has won seven of nine to begin this 13-game homestand, a surge often aided by spotless pitching.
The Dodgers beat Arizona 1-0 in extra innings on back-to-back days last week, and their four 1-0 wins this season are the most in the majors. Their 2.88 team ERA since May 9 is a big reason they’ve gone an MLB-best 22-7 in that stretch to capture first place in the NL West.
Runs may be hard to come by again Wednesday as Wainwright faces Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw(notes). Wainwright (8-3, 2.05 ERA) was all but unhittable Friday night against Milwaukee, pitching a two-hitter in the Cardinals’ 8-0 win.
“He hit the mitt 90 percent of the time,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “Command, stuff, composure against a really good hitting team. That was major league-plus right there.”
Wainwright is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three starts against Los Angeles since the start of 2008, and the right-hander has gone 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 30 innings over his last four overall outings. The only loss in that stretch was a 1-0 defeat at San Diego on May 25.
The Cardinals (33-26) hope to provide more run support than they did for Chris Carpenter(notes) on Tuesday. Carpenter’s seven shutout innings weren’t enough to claim a victory, as Albert Pujols(notes) went 0 for 4 for the second consecutive game.
St. Louis now tries to avoid being swept on the road for the first time in 2010. The Cardinals, who lost 4-3 to Milwaukee on Sunday and 12-4 at Los Angeles on Monday, haven’t lost four in a row in the regular season since a five-game skid from June 5-9, 2009.
They’ve never beaten Kershaw, who’s 1-0 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts against St. Louis. The 22-year-old, however, lasted only 3 2-3 innings when he faced Wainwright on Aug. 19, allowing two runs in a game the Cardinals won 3-2.
Kershaw (5-3, 3.06) is coming off his shakiest start in a month. He had been 4-1 with a 1.08 ERA in his final five May outings, but he walked five and allowed four runs - three earned - on Friday.
The Dodgers still beat Atlanta 5-4, but Kershaw did not get the win and was not pleased with his performance.
“I walked too many guys and gave them too many opportunities,” Kershaw said. “It was just one of those nights for me. But it was good for us to get a win against a good team.”