Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, center, celebrates his three-run home run with AJ Pollock during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
- The Cardinals can take a split of their series against the Dodgers with a win Thursday
- Los Angeles now trails the San Francisco Giants by two games in the NL West
- Read on for a preview, full odds and a best bet for Thursday’s matinee matchup
The Los Angeles Dodgers (88-52, 42-29 away) visit the St. Louis Cardinals (70-68, 36-32 home) for the final contest of a four-game set on Thursday, September 9, at 1:15pm ET. Now trailing the San Francisco Giants by two games in the NL West, the Dodgers will be looking to gain some ground, while the Cardinals are hanging on in the NL wild-card race.
After losing the first two games of the series, St. Louis regained some momentum Wednesday night with a 5-4 victory to snap a four-game losing skid overall.
Dodgers vs Cardinals Odds
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-190||-1.5 (-120)||Over 8.5 (-105)|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+160||+1.5 (+100)||Under 8.5 (-115)|
Odds as of September 9th at DraftKings.
The Dodgers have activated Tony Gonsolin from the IL and he will start Thursday’s game, pushing Julio Urias back to Friday. Gonsolin missed time with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, so it remains to be seen how effective he will be, but he is being relied on to pitch what manager Dave Roberts called the “bulk” of Thursday’s innings. However, only twice in nine starts so far has he even pitched into the sixth inning.
Dave Roberts said the Dodgers expect Tony Gonsolin to be activated tomorrow. He will take bulk innings, with Julio Urías starting Friday.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 8, 2021
The right-hander is 2-1 this season, with a 2.78 ERA across 35.2 innings, and is set to make his career-high 10th start of the year here. While it’s a small sample size with Gonsolin in just his third major-league season, the 27-year-old has succeeded against many of the big names in the St. Louis batting order, with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado still awaiting their first hits against him.
Gonsolin vs Woodford Stats
As a result, Gonsolin has a perfect 1-0 record against the Cardinals in his one and only start against them, giving up just two hits in six innings during his rookie season in 2019.
Batting Average vs Starting Pitchers
|Cardinals Batters||Batting Average vs Tony Gonsolin|
|Dodgers Batters||Batting Average vs Jake Woodford|
Jake Woodford is being tasked with keeping the Cardinals in the win column here, with the right-hander taking his 2-3 record and 4.47 ERA to the Busch Stadium pitching mound on Thursday afternoon.
— Memphis Redbirds (@memphisredbirds) August 28, 2021
The 24-year-old will be making his second career appearance against the Dodgers, having pitched 2.1 innings against them earlier this year, surrendering a home run to Cody Bellinger in that game.
Rivalry For The Ages
While the Dodgers have already clinched the season series over the Cardinals no matter the result on Thursday, having won four of the first five games they played this season, the two teams have forged a pretty epic rivalry over the years.
As a result, while the Dodgers are ahead in the all-time series, it isn’t by much. Los Angeles has 1036 win versus 1032 losses to the Cardinals, with 16 ties between the two teams.
And so far in this season at least, the games have taken on a very distinct pattern. The Dodgers have won by blowout, with their four wins coming via a 35-10 run differential. The Cardinals’ two wins, however, have been one-run affairs, with St. Louis triumphing with an 8-6 run differential.
Dodgers vs Cardinals Prediction
With a pair of stopgap measures on the mound in this getaway game, it’s truly a question of who can get their team into the latter innings of the game. Gonsolin may be coming directly off the IL and into this game, but he’s backed with a far greater arsenal behind him, and should be able to do enough, for long enough, until the bats get going here.
Best bet: Dodgers -1.5 (-120)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.