After losing two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium from May 29-31, the Los Angeles Dodgers stared at their postseason rivals from their respective dugout four days later, though this time at Dodger Stadium.
The Cardinals arrived at Chavez Ravine having won five of the last seven meetings with the Dodgers dating back to the 2014 National League Division Series. Days after saying he didn’t take issue with the quick turnaround to again face the Cardinals, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly dismissed the notion of there being additional frustration in dropping games to St. Louis.
“You get sick and tired of losing, period,” Mattingly said prior to Saturday’s game. “I’m not really concerned about who it is. It’s more you just don’t want to lose.” As for whether the Cardinals may hold an edge mentally over the Dodgers, Mattingly
“They don’t really scare me, honestly,” he said. “We’re way more concerned with how we’re playing. In a short series it’s a matter of who plays better that day to win a game. We’ve won the series the last two years as far as over the season, and it didn’t make any difference in the playoffs.” Last season the Dodgers won four of the seven meetings between the two teams, then withered away in the NLDS.
The Dodgers have also held a similar edge over the San Francisco Giants, which Mattingly pointed to as further proof of regular season results often times getting thrown out the window once October rolls around. “We’ve basically been a better team than the Giants the last two years over the course of 162 games, and obviously they win the World Series last year,” he said.
“I think we understand they have a good club, but it’s really more about us performing, and making plays at the right time and getting hits at the right time.” Even if only for one night, the Dodgers were able to shake free of the frustration that conceivably had been mounting with losing close contests to the Cardinals.
Clayton Kershaw turned in another dominant effort in his first time facing the Redbirds since Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS, striking out 11 in eight scoreless innings. While plenty of focus has been placed on Kershaw’s postseason shortcomings, the strong outing from the reigning NL MVP isn’t all that surprising as it falls in line with other regular season performances against the Cardinals, particularly at home.