The Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated from the postseason by the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
In the NLCS, the Dodgers fell in six games to come up short in their bid for a World Series. The series shifted in Game 1 when Joe Kelly hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch that broke his rib. Ramirez had carried the Dodger offense and was rendered ineffective after the injury. Some of the animosity carried over into the regular season in 2014 once Ramirez was hit with another pitch and Clayton Kershaw hit Matt Holliday with a pitch.
Don Mattingly broke down the upcoming series with the National League Central champions via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
They’re a good club,” Mattingly said. “They’ve been kind of a thorn in our side the last couple years. They beat us last year and knocked us out. I think the year before they beat us late in the year here in LA to kind of keep us out of the wild card.
Although the Dodgers split a four-game series against the Cardinals late in 2012, the Cardinals ultimately beat out the Dodgers for the second Wild Card spot that year. Back in 2009, the Dodgers defeated the Cardinals in the NLDS before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.
After last year’s tough series and the tensions this season, Mattingly believes it has created something between the two clubs:
So they’ve been a tough club for us. … It’s kind of turned into a pretty good rivalry.”
The Dodgers won the season series, 4-3, and head into October with some momentum. They have won eight of their last 10 games and their offense has averaged 7.5 runs per game in that span. They lead the league in home runs in September and right fielder Matt Kemp leads the league in home runs and RBIs since the All-Star break.
Ace Clayton Kershaw will take on Adam Wainwright on Friday to kick off the series.