Cardinals are off to the best home start in team history
The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers are well acquainted following back-to-back postseason matchups, but upstart Dodgers right-hander Mike Bolsinger is getting his first chance to participate in the head-to-head series.
Bolsinger looks to send the Cardinals to a rare home loss while extending his scoreless streak and remaining unbeaten Friday night.
St. Louis (31-16) has eliminated Los Angeles (28-18) in the playoffs the last two years and will meet the Dodgers for the first time since a 3-2 win over Clayton Kershaw in Game 4 of the NLDS on Oct. 7.
The Cardinals are off to the best home start in team history at 18-5 and have won four straight overall after taking three from visiting Arizona this week.
They’ve won twice in their last at-bat during the win streak, picking up a 4-3 walkoff victory on a Diamondbacks throwing error Wednesday.
St. Louis, which has scored 19 runs in the last four games, faces a challenge in Bolsinger, who’s won each of his three starts with a 0.71 ERA since being recalled from the minors May 12 and is coming off the finest outing of his brief career.
Bolsinger retired 23 in a row after allowing a leadoff single and struck out eight in Saturday’s 2-0 win over San Diego. He hasn’t given up a run in his last 18 2-3 innings.
"Something just clicked in my head. People ask me how I’m feeling and I’m just locked in now," Bolsinger said.
Bolsinger has benefited from starting at home each time since being called up again, but he’s 1-5 with a 5.75 ERA in seven road starts in his two seasons. He yielded one run in 5 2/3 innings in his lone road game this year, a 3-2 loss in 10 innings to San Francisco on April 23.
Bolsinger will face a team that’s averaged 5.1 runs in its last 16 home games while batting .296 overall and .305 with runners in scoring position.
Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday has reached base in a team-best 43 consecutive games to start this season, trailing only Derek Jeter’s record of 53 straight in 1999.
"There are some great pitchers out there, and we’ve faced a lot of them," Holliday told MLB’s official website. "To find your way on base in that many games in a row in the National League is pretty good."
The Dodgers were shut out in their three most recent road games May 19-21 against San Francisco. They’ve never been blanked in four straight and their 28-inning scoreless streak away from home matches their sixth-longest since 1912.
Los Angeles, 7-11 on the road, went 4-2 on a subsequent homestand and a 3-2 loss Wednesday kept it from a three-game sweep of Atlanta.
The Dodgers will face John Lackey (2-3, 3.18) for the first time since his Game 3 win in St. Louis on Oct. 6, in which he gave up one run in seven innings while striking out eight. That was the only 2014 matchup with Los Angeles for Lackey, who’s 6-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers, including postseason.
Lackey has received only two runs of support in his last three starts — all on the road — as he’s gone 0-2 despite a 3.12 ERA. The right-hander, who gave up three runs in five innings of a rain-shortened 3-2 loss in Kansas City on Saturday, had allowed two or fewer runs in his previous four starts.
Lackey is 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA in four home starts.