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Thursday - Dodgers vs. Cardinals in MLB PicksThe week is moving along as we get ready for another round of Major League Baseball games on Thursday. In all 20 teams will be in action on Thursday that features some of the games top starters including Matt Harvey for the New York Mets, Michael Wacha for the St. Louis Cardinals and Dallas Keuchel for the Houston Astros.

While we could turn our attention to a few games on Thursday we are going to focus our attention on the Cardinals matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. These two teams currently sit atop their respective divisions as the Cardinals are 33-18 atop the Central Division while the Dodgers are 30-21 atop the West Division.

This could be an early series of two teams that could possible meet during the postseason in October. Now we can take a look at this matchup a little closer on paper.

Starting pitchers: For us we would have loved to seen a Clayton Kershaw verse Michael Wacha matchup. Unfortunately, that won’t happen so we will settle for at least one of those two starters taking the mound. Wacha has been brilliant for the Cardinals this season, answering the teams question of who would replace Adam Wainwright as their ace.

Wacha will be making his 11th start of the season as he currently sits at 7-1 with an 2.27 earned run average. Now before you start writing off the Dodgers, Wacha’s only loss came in his last outing against the Dodgers in which he allowed four earned runs over 5.2 innings.

For the Dodgers, Carlos Frias will be making his seventh start of the season after starting the season out of the bullpen. Frias has been solid at times including his seven inning gem against the Cardinals last week. Overall Frias has pitched to a 4-2 record with a 4.29 earned run average benefitting from the Dodgers offense at times.

Hitters to watch: Now as much as we love the pitching each of these two teams possess in their arsenal but we love their lineup even more. The Dodgers have one of the games top lineups that features Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson and Howie Kendrick while they also look forward to Yasiel Puig returning from the disabled list.

Gonzalez enters Thursday’s matchup in fourth place in the National League with a .333 batting average. His teammate Pederson is tied for third with 15 home runs only trailing Todd Frazier and Bryce Harper.
The Cardinals on the other hand have Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta carrying the offensive load this year. Carpenter currently leads the team with eight home runs while Holliday supports a .318 average and Peralta has team high 30 runs batted in.

Matchup trends: As we look at this matchup on paper these two teams just met over the weekend as the Dodgers walked away with two of the three games. That includes a contest that featured both Wacha and Frias taking the mound. In that game that Cardinals offense was limited to just one run while the Dodgers offense managed to score six runs including four off of Wacha.