After dropping two of three games to the San Francisco Giants last weekend, the Dodgers continued their dismal play, dropping both games of a brief two-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks., and now finding themselves seven games behind the Giants in the NL West, and, at this point, have to be focused on a Wildcard spot.

There could be no better opportunity for the Dodgers to solidify their Wildcard chances than this weekend as the Dodgers return home for a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals who are a game up on L.A. for the second Wildcard spot.

The Dodgers inability to score runs continued, as they were blanked by Ian Kennedy on Tuesday, and lost another heart breaker 3-2 on Wednesday.

INFIELDERS: D+
Other than some nice at-bats from Luis Cruz, the Dodgers infield was virtually non-existent in the series. Whether it was Hanley Ramirez‘s throwing error that led to Arizona’s one unearned run on Tuesday, or Adrian Gonzalez‘s two looking strikeouts in the 9th inning, the L.A. infield could do no right in the series.

A.J. Ellis and Hanley Ramirez each went 0-for-6, with Mark Ellis going 0-for-8.

Gonzalez went 1-for-8, his lone hit a 2-RBI double in the first inning of Wednesday’s game that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. However, he was called out on strikes on a very questionable call Tuesday night to end the game, and was caught looking at the third strike again on Wednesday night for the second-to-last out of the game.

Cruz went 4-for-6 overall in the series, and was robbed of the go-ahead home run by Jason Kubel on Tuesday night.

OUTFIELDERS: C-
Each Dodgers outfielder collected a double on Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough to produce any runs or victories for the Boys in Blue.

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier each went 1-for-6 in the series. Kemp scored one of the Dodgers two runs on Wednesday.

Shane Victorino went 2-for-8 scoring the Dodgers other run on Wednesday night. Although unable to produce with the bat, the Dodgers outfielders played stellar defense, and Kemp’s shoulder appears to be healing as he showed off his arm throwing out Miguel Montero on a play at home plate Tuesday night.

STARTING PITCHING: C+
Clayton Kershaw displayed the Cy Young form once again on Tuesday night, but the lack of run support continued as Clayton was charged with the loss despite pitching seven shutout innings. Kershaw was charged with an unearned run off Hanley Ramirez‘s throwing error. Kershaw struck out five and walked three. Kershaw lost for the second time in his last three starts despite lowering his ERA from 2.85 to 2.70 in that span, with the Dodgers scoring three runs total to back up Kershaw over those three games.

Aaron Harang was not nearly as effective giving up three earned runs in 5.2 innings, striking out three and walking four. Harang also could not hold the early 2-0 lead he was staked to. Harang hasn’t won since August 18 against the Atlanta Braves, and has not pitched out of the sixth inning during that span either.

BULLPEN: B-
Randy Choate proved ineffective for the Dodgers, but the bullpen otherwise got the job done against Arizona. It took four pitchers to get through one inning on Tuesday night, but they did so unscathed.

Shawn Tolleson, Randy Choate, Jamey Wright, and Paco Rodriguez getting credit for that. With runners on the corners and the game tied at 2 on Wednesday, Choate would enter the game in relief of Aaron Harang, and surrender a go-ahead RBI single to Gerardo Parra. Shawn Tolleson would come in to close out the inning.

Wright and Ronald Belisario each pitched a scoreless inning of relief after that.

The Dodgers were completely owned by the D’Backs this season, going 6-13 against the Snakes, dropping seven of the last ten meetings with Arizona.

The Cardinals will come to town with one game separating the Dodgers and Cards for the second wild card spot. St. Louis has also been struggling, the victims of a three-game sweep by the San Diego Padres, and losers of five of six themselves. There are only 19 games left in the season, the Dodgers must take control against another struggling team with playoff hopes of their own on the line.

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