Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on May 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
After taking 2-3 from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers head home to face a much tougher opponent in the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards have the best record in baseball coming into Friday and a lot of that success is credited to the young arms in the starting rotation.
It is a rotation built for long, quality outings ranking first in team ERA and second in innings pitched. They have a league-leading four complete-game shutouts.
The Dodgers will not face the Cards ace, Adam Wainwright, this weekend but will come up against a trio of talented 20-year olds in Lance Lynn, John Gast, and Shelby Miller.
In the series opener the Dodgers face Lance Lynn, the 26-year old right-hander from Ole Miss. He was picked in the first round of the 2008 draft and worked into the St. Louis rotation full time by 2012, making 29 starts for an 18-7 record, 3.78 ERA and 180 strikeouts.
Lynn was chosen as an All-Star in 2012, and is looking even better in 2013 with an opponent batting average of .211 that ranks him in the top 20 of the majors.
On Saturday, the Dodgers will be the third team to face 24 year-old, John Gast. He made his major-league debut May 14th earning a win against the Mets pitching six innings, allowing four runs and striking out three.
He had an outstanding start to the season in the minors, pitching 32 consecutive scoreless innings. Gast got the call-up to the majors when Jake Westbrook was placed on the DL.
The hottest pitcher that the Dodgers will be facing this weekend is the 22 year-old, Shelby Miller. Miller was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 2009 draft, and quickly became one of the hottest prospects in the league.
Recently in a game against Colorado, Miller pitched a game that most players will never achieve.
After a bloop single in the first at bat of the game, he threw the next nine innings without giving up a hit or a walk and striking out 13. He essentially pitched a perfect game, by retiring 27 straight batters.
Shelby Miller is currently fourth in the league in ERA, fifth in WHIP and his start in Colorado is the best-pitched game in the MLB this year with a 98 Gamescore.
His career 1.57 ERA and 69 strikeouts through 10 starts put him in rare company. Only four pitchers including Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela have accomplished that before.
The Cardinal’s young arms will face a Dodgers rotation of Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, and Clayton Kershaw. If the emphasis on how young these Cardinal pitchers are is not clear yet, the three Dodgers have a total of 680 career starts, versus only 52 from Lynn, Gast and Miller.
The series finale between Clayton Kershaw and Shelby Miller looks to be the pitching matchup of the weekend.