Dodgers vs Cardinals Pre-Game: Capuano of old could end slide

The Dodgers lost Game One of a very important four-game series last night against the Cardinals, 2-1.

This is a series for the Dodgers that could move them into the second Wildcard spot, which after last night’s loss has them currently trailing the Cardinals by two games.

There are so many questions surrounding this Dodgers team as they make a final push for the postseason. Why are the Dodgers struggling? Is Matt Kemp playing hurt? Does this team lack good chemistry? When will they turn things around?

Everyone has been trying to get an answer to why this team has been struggling. The Dodgers have 18 games left to turn things around and put those questions to rest. These next three games could make or break this team, who’s on the verge of either digging a deeper a hole for themselves or becoming a team that can make a deep run in October.

Tonight’s pitching match-up will be Joe Kelly against Chris Capuano.

Kelly, the 24-year-old right-hander from Anaheim, Calif. has made 15 starts this season for the Cardinals, posting a 5-6 record with a 3.51 ERA.

In his last three starts he’s 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA, with his last win coming on Sept. 3 against the New York Mets.

In his career against the Dodgers, Kelly has a 0-1 record with a 3.00 ERA, picking up that loss in his only start against them on July 23 in St. Louis earlier this season. He went 6.0 innings, allowing four hits, two runs, with just one strike out in that game.

The Dodgers are still looking to find the Capuano that was winning games consistently during the first half of the season.

It has been the complete opposite during the second half for Capuano, who has now been more consistent at losing games, with just two wins total since the All-Star break, posting an 11-10 record with a 3.59 ERA in 29 starts this season, with his last win coming over a month ago on Aug. 12 against the Miami Marlins.

He has a 0-1 record with a 5.50 ERA in his last three starts.

Capuano’s career record against the Cardinals is 5-6 with a 5.70 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals (76-68) at Los Angeles Dodgers (74-70)
Joe Kelly (5-6, 3.51) vs. Chris Capuano (11-10, 3.59)
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
7:10 p.m. PST, September 14, 2012
TV: Prime Ticket
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 83 degrees, Mostly Sunny

Cardinals’ Projected Starters:
P: Joe Kelly
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Allen Craig
2B: Skip Schumaker
SS: Daniel Descalso
3B: David Freese
LF: Matt Holliday
CF: Jon Jay
RF: Carlos Beltran

Key Bench Players: 1B Matt Carpenter

Key to a Dodger Victory
Capuano of old
The Dodgers need to get the Chris Capuano of the first half of season back, the one that was looked upon by some as an All-Star snub. He was 9-4 before the All-Star break and was the starter behind Clayton Kershaw in the rotation that the Dodgers could rely on. He is capable of dominating opposing offenses. In his last win on Aug. 12 against the Miami Marlins, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, finishing with just two hits in eight shutout innings. If the Dodgers plan to win this important series or get into the postseason, they will need the Capuano of old to return to form.