The Cardinals roll into town today. Man, last year that was the signal for a sweep, and not the kind a Dodger fan would want.
This year, the Cardinals carry a 15-20 record into this series - the same record that the Reds brought into their series. They also bring with them a painful bit of trivia: they've been shut out six times this year already, four of those in the half-month of May. The Pads shut them out twice, with a shutout of their own administered to the Pads sandwiched in between. The Astros blew them out 0-13 on the fifth, and the Brewers put a 0-4 on their record back on the second, to complete their May tally of shutouts suffered.
With the shutouts mounting, it is no surprise that to date the Cardinals have scored the least runs in the NL: 110, to go with 159 against. That should be seen against the context of the Cardinals having played only 35 games so far this year: most of the NL have played around 37 games so far. The Cards have a Brewers game and a Pirates game postponed. Even with that fact, they are only scoring at an average of just over pi runs per game. The Dodgers are scoring an average of 4.47 runs a game, and the Brewers tops the NL at 5.02 runs a game.
For the NL, the average is 4.39 runs scored per game. The Cardinals are scoring at just over a run a game less than the NL average: that's not a good way to win games. The only teams close to their average in runs scored are the Nationals ( yikes ) and the Pirates ( oh dear ). After those two, it is the NL West's own reptiles, with 149 runs in 39 games with the fourth-least runs scored in the NL.
St. Louis allows runs at a rate of 4.54 per game. Coupled with their awful offense so far, this gives them a negative 1.4-run differential. The Redbirds' losing record so far isn't a surprise. One big reason for the Cardinals offensive struggles is that Pujols is only batting .248, with .347 OBP and .426 SLG. One swallow does not a summer make, and if there's no need to pitch to him, he won't be seeing a whole lot of hittable pitches.
All of these numbers seem to suggest that the Dodgers, with good pitching and in the heavy L.A night air, have a good chance to accumulate some more W's at home. The bats have been threatening to break out of their slumber the past few games. Some of the outs have turned into little bloop hits and infield singles, and one can but hope some other outs mature into doubles and the odd HR.
Even with the numbers smiling on them, the Dodgers still have to get it done. Here's to hoping the team knuckles down and plays good baseball against the Cardinals the next three nights.