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Dodgers, Cardinals Set To Do Battle In NLDS Rematch

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(Sports Network) - Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw pitched well enough to be an All-Star, but ultimately did not join four of his teammates in Anaheim for the Mid-Summer Classic.

Despite the snub, Kershaw will look to get his second half off to an equally- as-impressive start this evening, when the Dodgers visit the St. Louis Cardinals in a battle of second-place clubs at Busch Stadium.

Los Angeles manager Joe Torre will go with Kershaw in the opener of this four- game series after the 22-year-old went 9-4 with a 2.96 earned run average in the first half. Kershaw won his final two starts before the hiatus and has claimed victory in five of his last six decisions.

That includes a win over the Chicago Cubs last Thursday, when the left-hander yielded two runs on seven hits with a season-high 12 strikeouts. He matched his longest start of the season by going eight innings and is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA in eight road starts.

"Clayton had a great start [Thursday. He's very special," Torre said. "The most important thing he brings to the table is he can throw more than one pitch for a strike."

The Cardinals certainly know that as Kershaw is 2-0 with a 2.27 ERA in five lifetime starts versus them. He beat the club on June 9 after yielding three runs on four hits while striking out 10 over seven innings.

While Kershaw was not selected to represent the National League on Tuesday, St. Louis' Chris Carpenter was. However, the right-hander did not pitch in the NL's 3-1 win and will instead go for the Cardinals tonight.

Carpenter went winless in his final three starts before the break, going 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA. He was tagged for eight runs (seven earned) over just three innings in a loss to Milwaukee on July 3 and was then defeated by Colorado five days later after yielding four runs over six frames of work.

The 35-year-old is now 9-3 with a 3.29 ERA on the season, but has never lost to the Dodgers. Despite a no-decision versus the club on June 8 -- an outing in which Carpenter threw seven scoreless innings -- he is 5-0 with a 1.88 ERA all-time against Los Angeles.

A few of Carpenter's teammates did play a role in Tuesday's All-Star Game win. Matt Holliday, who failed to make it out of the first round of Monday's Home Run Derby, scored one of the NL's three runs, while Adam Wainwright took the hill after the Senior Circuit grabbed the lead and held the AL off the scoreboard in the seventh inning despite allowing a hit and a walk.

Catcher Yadier Molina and first baseman Albert Pujols both started the game for St. Louis. Molina had a hit while Pujols went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

The Dodgers also had an impact in Tuesday's game. Reliever Hong-Chih Kuo gave up the lone AL run, though it was unearned due to his throwing error, while Jonathan Broxton closed out the game for the save. Starting right fielder Andre Ethier went 1-for-2 with a strikeout, while shortstop Rafael Furcal drew a walk after coming in off the bench.

Both the Cardinals and Dodgers come into this series just out of first place in their respective divisions. St. Louis is a game back of Cincinnati in the NL Central, while Los Angeles is two games back of NL West-leading San Diego.

The Cardinals lost four of six before the break, but did claim a 4-2 win over Houston in Sunday's finale and begin an eight-game homestand tonight. The Dodgers, meanwhile, took three of four from the Cubs to finish out last week and have won six of their last nine.

Los Angeles is expected to have Manny Ramirez back in the lineup tonight. He has been on the disabled list due to a strained right hamstring and is hitting .322 in 59 games this year, but has just eight homers and 39 RBI. Ramirez also spent time on the DL earlier this year because of a strained calf muscle.

The Dodgers swept a three-game set at home from the Cardinals from June 7-9 after losing five of seven to the club last season.