Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick & Prediction MAY 21st 2023

Stadium: Busch Stadium St. Louis
Logo Los Angeles Dodgers
VS
Logo St. Louis Cardinals
-151
OPENER
8.5

-1.5 +120
CURRENT
8.5o -110

-130
MONEYLINE
+125

5
SCORE
10

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty searched for command of his fastball during much of this season as his ERA climbed over 6.00.

Flaherty (3-4, 5.24 ERA) finally found that command in his last outing, albeit in an 18-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. The right-hander allowed just three hits and struck out 10 in seven innings.

Flaherty will try to build on that effort Sunday when the Cardinals close their four-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals have won two of the first three games of the set and 10 of their last 13 games overall.

Flaherty got in sync with catcher Willson Contreras against Milwaukee. He settled in by locating his fastball and setting up his slider and curveball.

"First off, get ahead with it and then go down, elevate when needed, and go to the big situations and not just have to spin everybody," Flaherty said. "Once we got two strikes, knowing what this guy might swing and miss (at). This is how we got to two strikes. How do we get strike three? Reading swings. Reading foul balls."

Trust issues with Contreras prompted manager Oliver Marmol to temporarily remove him as the primary catcher. That change came after Flaherty allowed the Los Angeles Angels to score 10 runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings on May 4.

It appears order has been restored.

"Whenever a pitcher can execute down and away, down and in, up and away, and up and in, it's going to be tough for a hitter to make contact," Contreras said. "When you have a pitcher command his fastball, it's going to be really hard for the hitters to stay on something else.

"It's going to be really fun for me to keeping calling games like that. I'm really glad I went back to work with him."

Flaherty dropped a 7-3 decision to the Dodgers on April 28 after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 2.34 ERA in six career starts against them.

The Dodgers on Sunday will turn to Clayton Kershaw (6-3, 2.52), who will try to rebound from a 5-1 loss Tuesday to the Minnesota Twins -- his first loss at Dodger Stadium since June 16, 2021.

Kershaw needed 90 pitches to get 12 outs. He allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out seven in four innings.

"Just overall the stuff just wasn't as good as in Milwaukee," Kershaw said in comparison to his May 10 game there, in which he gave up only one run and struck out eight in seven innings of his team's 8-1 victory. ... "That happens sometimes."

Tuesday's game vs. Minnesota was Kershaw's first since the death of his mother.

"I just felt that he was more agitated, not in rhythm, and you can see his frustration even with that," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "I think there's an intensity with him every time he takes the mound. But I think that agitation isn't kind of typical for him."

Kershaw earned a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals on April 29 after scattering two hits and striking out eight over seven shutout innings. He is 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 20 career starts against them.

The Dodgers promoted right-hander Wander Suero from Triple-A Oklahoma City Saturday after lefty Julio Urias went on the injured list with a strained left hamstring.

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Los Angeles Dodgers
6
5
St. Louis Cardinals

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals Recap MAY 21TH 2023

Oscar Mercado and Paul DeJong combined to drive in nine runs as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers 10-5 on Sunday.

Mercado, batting ninth in the order, went 3-for-5 and tied his single-game career high with five RBIs. DeJong hit an RBI single and a three-run homer.

The Cardinals won their fourth straight series. After starting the season 10-24, they have gone 11-3.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty allowed three runs on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Drew VerHagen (3-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings to earn the victory.

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (6-4) struggled through his shortest outing of his season. He allowed four runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

Los Angeles third baseman Max Muncy was ejected by third-base umpire Paul Emmel in the fourth inning for protesting a called third strike.

The Cardinals took a 3-0 second-inning lead. Doubles by Nolan Arenado, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and Tommy Edman produced one run.

Brendan Donovan walked and Mercado hit a two-run double.

The Dodgers' Jason Heyward hit a double, took third on Miguel Rojas' single and scored on David Peralta's sacrifice fly as they cut the lead to 3-1 in the third inning.

The Cardinals made it 4-1 the next inning. DeJong walked, raced to third on Donovan's single and scored on Mercado's single.

Heyward and Peralta walked in the fifth inning and Freddie Freeman poked an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. After Will Smith walked to load the bases, VerHagen relieved Flaherty and balked home a run to trim the lead to 4-3.

The Cardinals pushed made it 7-3 in the bottom of the inning. Arenado singled, Alec Burleson walked, Edman and DeJong singled to produce a run -- then Mercado hit a two-run single.

Singles by Arenado and Edman followed by DeJong's three-homer made it 10-3 in the seventh inning.

The Dodgers trimmed their deficit to 10-5 in the eighth inning on sacrifice flies by J.D. Martinez and James Outman.

--Field Level Media