Cardinals-Dodgers NLCS Game 3 preview: Wainwright vs. Ryu
Game 3 of the NLCS in Dodger Stadium pits a lefty rookie against a right-handed ace.
LOS ANGELES -- Game 3 of the NLCS between the Cardinals and Dodgers comes to us from sunny Southern California. The hosts, down 2-0 in this series and desperate for a win, will start lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00 ERA, 119 ERA+, 1.20 WHIP, 3.14 K/BB) against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA, 123 ERA+, 1.07 WHIP, 6.26 K/BB).
Now let's have a look at how these two hurlers match up ...
Ryu vs. Cardinals
In his first season stateside, the lefty import faced the Cardinals once on Aug. 8 at Busch Stadium, and he was very effective: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R (unearned), 7 K, 0 BB. Although the following means little since it's across a sample of just 19 plate appearances, the symmetry is impressive, as current Cardinals hitters have combined to bat .263/.263/.263 against Ryu.
As for the other trends in play for Game 3, the Cardinals offense this season ranked a subpar 10th in the 15-team NL in terms of in weight runs created+ (wRC+) against left-handers. Also keep in mind that the Cardinals are still without one of their best right-handed bats, Allen Craig, and that a lefty, Matt Adams, has been playing in his stead. More to the point, the Cardinals in 2013 were 78-42 against right-handed starters but just 19-23 against lefty starters. They could indeed have another tough time against Ryu on Monday.
Wainwright vs. Dodgers
In 2013, the Cardinals' ace made one start against the Dodgers, and it fell on Aug. 5 at Busch. In that start, Wainwright was solid: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 5 K, 2 BB. Current Dodgers hitters have combined to bat .213/.262/.331 against Wainwright across 147 plate appearances. Andre Ethier has enjoyed quite a bit of success against Wainwright but has done so in a sample of just 36 plate appearances. The Dodgers this season ranked second in the NL in wRC+ against right-handers and fifth in wRC+ at home.
How will Wainwright approach the Dodgers in Game 3? When he faced them in August, he primarily relied on his cutter, as he threw it a plurality of the time (35.2 percent, per Brooks Baseball) while calling upon his dominating curve just 21.9 percent of the time. However, over his pair of stellar starts this postseason (16 IP combined, 2 R, 15 K, 1 BB against the Pirates), Wainwright was more reliant on that curveball (38.2 percent) while throwing his cutter less often than even his four-seamer. Following the NLDS, Wainwright talked about how confident he is in his curve right now, so it'll be interesting to see how he approaches the Dodgers, who, as a team, were not particularly effective against curves this season.
First pitch of Game 3 is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET.