After Matt Kemp’s eighth-inning blast in Game 2 gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a much-needed win to even the National League Division Series at one game apiece, the Dodgers are now in St. Louis looking to take a decisive 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
Hyun-Jin Ryu makes his return and will be seeing action for the first time in three weeks. In his last outing on Sept. 12, the left-hander only pitched one inning before being taken out of the game because of shoulder irritation, effectively ending his regular season.
Ryu finished with a 14-7 record and 3.38 ERA, and faced the Cardinals on June 27; he recorded seven strikeouts in seven innings, but suffered a loss. The Dodgers couldn’t give Ryu any run support as the lineup only mustered a single run which wasn’t enough to overcome the three runs the Cardinals scored.
In terms of the postseason, Ryu will be hoping to duplicate the performance he had in last year’s National League Championship Series when he went seven scoreless innings against the Cardinals and earned his first career postseason win, which was also in a Game 3. However, that start came at Dodger Stadium.
Starting opposite Ryu will be postseason veteran John Lackey, who the Cardinals acquired at the deadline in exchange for Joe Kelly and Allen Craig. Over the course of his career, Lackey has gone 6-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 postseason appearances (16 starts).
Since joining the Cardinals, Lackey pitched his way to a 3-3 record to finish the year 14-10. In the 10 starts with the Cardinals, he only gave up more than two runs twice and ended with a 3.83 ERA.
Lackey last faced the Dodgers in 2013 while still a member of the Boston Red Sox. He has seen the Dodgers 11 times over the course of his career and is 5-3. Despite holding a 1.93 ERA against the Dodgers, Lacky struggled in his last two outings and gave up a total of nine runs in two losses.
The Dodgers stick with the same lineup they used in Games 1 and 2, while the Cardinals alter theirs by moving Randal Grichuk back in the two spot. Yasiel Puig will want to move on from his Game 2 performance that saw him strike out in all four of his at-bats and he’s struck out in five consecutive at-bats.