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NLCS: Game 3 Preview

With Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking the mound in Games 1 and 2, the Dodgers didn't expect to fall to 0-2. On Monday they'll look for a first NLCS win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

With Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking the mound in Games 1 and 2, the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t expect to fall to 0-2. With the series switching to L.A. on Monday, they’ll look for a first NLCS win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0, the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to fight their way back into postseason contention Monday as the National League Championship Series switches to Los Angeles and the first of potentially three games at Dodger Stadium. First pitch at Chavez Ravine is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET.

The Dodgers have been shackled by the Cardinals pitching through the first two games of the series. After scoring a pair of runs in the third inning of Game 1, the Dodgers went 10 innings without scoring, dropping the game 3-2 in the 13th inning as Lance Lynn came out of the bullpen to pick up the win.

In Game 2, the Dodgers were shutout by Michael Wacha and the Cardinals relievers, allowing St. Louis to snatch a 1-0 win and take a 2-0 series lead. All told, in 22 innings of NLCS play, the Dodgers have just two runs on 14 hits, while Cardinals pitchers have walked seven and struck out 24.

Of course, St. Louis hasn’t exactly gotten the better of Dodgers pitching, scoring just four runs on nine hits. But the Cardinals have gotten just enough.

Manager Don Mattingly will hope a change in scenery brings a change in fortune for the NL favorite Dodgers. He could be without an important part of his offense though as Hanley Ramirez may not be in the lineup.

Ramirez will be a game time decision. The shortstop was hit by a pitch in the first inning of Game 1 and missed Game 2 with bruised ribs. While he’s trying to get fit before Monday’s game, it’s looking more likely that he’ll be missing when first pitch is thrown.

The Dodgers will also make a game time decision on Andre Eithier. After suffering from shin splints, Eithier made his first start since the middle of September in Game 1, but looked out of sorts. He made only a pinch hit appearance in Game 2. If Mattingly again decides to sit the center fielder, he’ll have Skip Schumaker, who played the entire NLDS, to take over.

Mattingly will hope the offense of Yasiel Puig, amongst others, also picks up, and proves enough to put the halters on St. Louis’ dominant pitching. Puig went 0 for 4 on Saturday and looked completely out of sorts. The rookie is hitless this series with six strikeouts, after going 8 for 17 (.471) with five runs scored in the NLDS.

The Cardinals meanwhile will simply look to take care of business in Los Angeles. Mike Matheny’s side knows only too well what it’s like to blow a series lead, having lost last year’s NLCS after leading the San Francisco Giants 3-1. Don’t expect the Cardinals to be complacent then when they take the field.

The Dodgers are likely to send Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-0, 12.00 ERA) to the mound for Game 3. Ryu – who finished the year 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA – allowed four runs on six hits in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. Don Mattingly pulled the left-hander from the game after just 3.0 innings of that game. He’ll be hoping for a better performance on Monday.

Ryu’s poor postseason start followed a regular season that saw the first-year major leaguer slump towards the end of the year. Having started 12-3, Ryu lost five of his last seven decisions to close out the regular season. In one of his last solid starts (Aug. 8), Ryu yielded five hits and struck out seven in a 5-1 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis will counter with Adam Wainwright (2-0, 1.13 ERA). The Cardinals ace has been lights out this postseason, picking up a win in Game 1 the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates before pitching a complete game win in the decisive Game 5.

Having finished the season with a 19-9 record and a 2.94 ERA, the right-hander has allowed just 11 hits and two runs this postseason, walking one whilst fanning 15. Wainwright pitched in a losing effort against the Dodgers on August 5, allowing three runs on seven hits in a 3-2 loss.

The Dodgers (-140) opened the series favored to topple St. Louis (+120). Down 2-0, the Los Angeles club will be faced with a tough challenge if it’s to prove the bookmakers right. That being said, ahead of the series the shortest odds available (+350) with regards to the exact series result had the Dodgers winning in seven. That’s a result that may still be in the offing.

Meanwhile, a Cardinals sweep of the Dodgers was assigned +1500 odds prior to the series, the longest of any exact result. A win on Monday and the Red Birds might be looking good for a very big upset.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers odds for 10/14/13 are available now.

St. Louis (-125) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+115) on the moneyline but most sportsbooks have seen the gap shrink slightly.

The Dodgers are favored to cover, for those that bet the spread in baseball. The over/under opened at and currently sits at 6½. Both St. Louis (4-3-0) and Los Angeles (4-2-0) have favored the over this postseason. However, the first two games of the series saw the total go under. Four of seven regular season games between the two also saw the total go under.

Upcoming: Game 4 of the NLCS is scheduled for Tuesday (8:07 p.m. ET). At the time of publication, Lance Lynn (1-1, 7.11 ERA) is set to start for St. Louis while Ricky Nolasco (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is set to make his first postseason start for the Dodgers. If required, Game 5 will take place at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday (4:07 p.m. ET).

ALCS: The Boston Red Sox used a David Ortiz grand slam to rescue a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, leveling the American League Championship Series at one game apiece. The series now switches to Motown and Comerica Park for three games (Tue-Thu). For the latest ALCS Game 3 odds and trends, click here.

For MLB Futures odds, courtesy of Bovada, click here.

For team prop bets, click here.

For player prop bets, click here.

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