(BaseballStL) -- The metaphorical deck is stacked in the Cardinals’ favor for the series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight at Busch Stadium in the first game of the second half of the 2014 season.
Since 2008, the Redbirds have won every first post-All-Star break home game, outscoring opponents 40-17. They have also won or tied every first post-break home series since 2004. Their record in the first home stand following the break is an incredible 38-16 since the new Busch Stadium opened in 2006.
How did the Cardinals stack up in the first half? Check out the grades here.
Cardinal starter Lance Lynn is making his 20th start of the year and prior to the “blister game” at Dodger Stadium, allowed Los Angeles just one run in his previous two starts, winning both games. He has a 43-22 record since the start of 2012, second only to Adam Wainwright in the National League. He is 23-10 at Busch and his .697 win percentage is the all-time best at Busch Stadium III.
The Cards are 53-30 in games he started. His home run total this year is fourth lowest in the majors and six of the seven he surrendered were on the road. He has five scoreless starts this year, four of them of seven innings or more.
LA starter Dan Haren (8-6, 4.23 ERA) has nine seasons in which he started at least 30 games and had at least 10 wins, second among active pitchers to Mark Buehrle (13) of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Haren is one of the best control pitchers in the game, averaging fewer than two walks per nine innings and a 4-1 strikeout-walk ratio. That ratio puts him third all time in the live ball era.
Holding Los Angeles early is crucial as the Redbirds are 40-14 when they score first and just 12-30 when they don’t. As always, the fourth run is crucial as the Cards are 41-13 when they score at least four runs.
St. Louis begins the second half one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers, but just a half game ahead of Cincinnati and two and half ahead of Pittsburgh in the tough NL Central.
Adrian Gonzalez’ .338 average in 22 games at Busch III is 6th best.
The Dodgers have won the first game in four of the last five series. They took three of four from St. Louis at Dodger Stadium this year, outscoring the Cards 17-4.
The next run Matt Holliday scores will be the 1,000th of his career.
Randy Choate hasn’t allowed a run in his last 13 appearances.
All time, the Cardinals are 1,010-1,015 against the Dodgers but 19-10 at Busch III.
One more home run by Kolten Wong would put him second to Rogers Hornsby for homers in the month of July by a second baseman.
Allen Craig’s parents are in attendance tonight. Craig, who led the team in hits (27) in June as well as RBIs (19) is hoping to turn things around in the second half. Craig (.244) leads the team in strikeouts with 70.
Dee Gordon has 43 stolen bases and nine triples already this year and his 31 infield hits leads the majors.
The Dodgers starting rotation has the lowest ERA (3.08) in the majors, the Cards are fifth (3.35).