It has to be nice to be Jake Westbrook these days. The right-hander, who faces Clayton Kershaw Saturday night, has posted an impressive 4-2 record and a 2.35 ERA.

A deeper look, however, reveals that those numbers just might be a product of his competition. In seven starts thus far, Westbrook has faced the 15-24 Cubs (twice), the 16-25 Brewers, the 18-20 Pirates (twice), the 17-22 Diamondbacks and the 19-18 Reds. Not exactly murderers row.

Fortunately for him, the Dodgers aren’t exactly throwing out an all-star lineup themselves. They do, however, possess the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw is fresh off one of his best starts of the season, in which he threw seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks in a 3-1 Dodgers victory.

St. Louis Cardinals (22-17) at Los Angeles Dodgers (26-13)
7:10 PM PST, May 18, 2012
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 62 degrees, mostly clear

Cardinals Projected Starters:
P: Jake Westbrook

C: Yadier Molina
1B: Lance Berkman
2B: Tyler Greene
SS: Rafael Furcal
3B: David Freese
LF: Matt Holliday
CF: Shane Robinson
RF: Carlos Beltran

Key Bench Players: 2B Skip Schumaker, OF Allen Craig

For more information on the Cardinals check out our pre-series report.

Dodgers Last 10: (7-3): W vs STL, W @ SD, L @ SD, L vs ARI, W vs ARI, W vs COL, W vs COL, W vs COL, W vs SF, L vs SF.
Cardinals Last 10:
 (4-6): L @ LA, L @ SF, W @ SF, W vs CHC, L vs CHC, L vs ATL, L vs ATL, L vs ATL, W @ ARI, W @ ARI.

Fun Facts:

  • The Dodgers as a team have a .196 career batting average against Westbrook, with only one player batting over .222 against him (Matt Treanor)
  • In 26 appearances against Kershaw, Matt Holliday has .538 on-base percentage, having drawn a walk one out of every three trips to the plate
  • In two starts against the Redbirds last season, Kershaw played Jekyll and Hyde. In his first appearance he lasted just 4.2 innings, giving up five earned runs and walking five in a 9-2 loss. In his second start, however, he threw six shutout innings and struck out nine in a 13-2 win.

Keys to a Dodger Victory:

– String hits together

Coming off just his second loss of the season, Westbrook was throttled for 11 hits against the Cubs last week. As the Dodgers continue to be without superstar Matt Kemp, they need to learn to be content slapping singles and playing small ball, especially against a pitcher like Westbrook.

-Kershaw, Kershaw, Kershaw

Even with Matt Kemp in the lineup, the attention always shifts to the pitching mound when Kershaw is on the bump and tonight will be no different. As the Cardinals continue to adapt to life without Pujols, Carlos Beltran has returned to his all-star form this season and if the Dodgers want to get a win, most of the pressure falls on the shoulders of Kershaw.

Best-Case Prediction: 4-0 Dodgers
 2-0 Cardinals