After getting swept in a four-game series at Busch Stadium in April, the Los Angeles Dodgers returned the favor with a three-game sweep of their own over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium this week, capping it off with a 2-1 walk-off victory on Wednesday afternoon.
In what was a battle of two young starters, Dustin May and Jack Flaherty both impressed, striking out seven and 10, respectively. In just his second career start, May went 5.2 strong innings while allowing just one run on a sixth-inning home run by Marcell Ozuna.
May was outdueled by Flaherty, as the Burbank, Calif., native tossed seven shutout innings and left with a 1-0 lead. The only problem for him was that his bullpen blew that lead.
Russell Martin earned the Dodgers’ MLB-leading 10th walk-off victory of a single up the middle to drive home two runs in the ninth.
Despite the loss and sweep, Flaherty voiced confidence in the Cardinals being capable competing with the Dodgers and spoke with anticipation of returning to Dodger Stadium during the postseason, via Mark Saxon of The Athletic:
“We come in here, they’ve been the best team in baseball for a little bit now,” Flaherty said. “But we played them really, really tough in these last two games, and we know what happened earlier in the season. So, we know we’re going to see them again. Everybody in here is confident about that, that we’ll be in position. We’ll be back here, and it’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Flaherty has certainly done his part when facing his hometown team, allowing just three runs in 25 career innings against, good for a 1.08 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers.
“He’s really good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after his club’s latest look at the 23-year-old. “I think that you see guys gear up to face us, which is to be expected.
“This guy is 92-97 (mph) and he’s got a slider that you just can’t see it. It has really good depth, he presents it as a strike and then the bottom falls out. He’s got a really good arm and good competitor.”
While Flaherty is correct that the Cardinals matched up well against the Dodgers in April, those were two completely different teams. Notably, the Dodgers have received significant contributions from rookies who were not on the roster during the third week of the season.
During their series at Dodger Stadium, Roberts proclaimed the Dodgers as the team to beat in the National League and he wasn’t concerned about measuring up to potential postseason teams such as the Cardinals.
The Dodgers’ 77-40 record and 8.5-game lead on the rest of the NL certainly supports that sentiment. Conversely, St. Louis has lost control of the top spot for the NL Wild Card Game.