With a potentially serious injury to slugging first basemen Lance Berkman hanging over the St. Louis Cardinals, the team will look to avoid being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers, an ailing team themselves. The Cards lost a heartbreaker on Friday night and then were completely neutralized on Saturday night by reigning NL Cy Young Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers cruised to a 6-0 victory.
On Sunday night, St. Louis will face Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, who has had a solid if inconsistent season after a career nadir in 2011. Billingsley has posted a 3.83 ERA this season, but has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his last five starts. There are also some underlying numbers that suggest the rug is slowly being pulled out from under him. His WHIP (1.37) and BAA (.260) both would suggest a higher ERA, and his fielding independent pitching sits at 4.20, almost a half a run higher than his ERA.
The Cardinals will trot out Kyle Lohse, who has quietly been one of the better pitchers in the National League this season. That said, Lohse has also started to regress a bit, with the big blow coming in his last start vs. the Chicago Cubs, when he gave up five earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched.