LOS ANGELES -- With some newfound momentum gained during a successful homestand, the St. Louis Cardinals will now take their positive energy on the road.
The Dodgers have been searching for consistency in August but appear to be feeling confident after a series victory at Seattle when the offense emerged. The Dodgers' two victories in the interleague series were by 11-1 and 12-1 scores.
Both clubs have playoff aspirations, but still have work to do as they meet at Dodger Stadium Monday night for the opener of a three-game series.
The Dodgers are two games behind National League West leaders Arizona and Colorado, who are tied for the top spot. The Dodgers are searching for their sixth consecutive division title.
The Cardinals just used a 5-2 homestand, against the fading Washington Nationals and the contending Milwaukee Brewers, to continue their rise into playoff contention.
St Louis is also 14-4 in its last 18 games and 21-11 since manager Mike Shildt took over for Mike Matheny last month. The Cardinals sit a half game behind the wild-card contenders and are also four games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
"It's just consistent baseball," St. Louis first baseman Matt Carpenter said, according to mlb.com. "We are going out there every day and giving ourselves a chance to win. Pitching has been good. Bullpen has been good. And (the) lineup has been steady. We are really playing well. If you continue that stretch, no doubt you'll be playing October baseball."
The Dodgers are just 8-9 in August but won their first series of the month by playing well against the contending Mariners.
Justin Turner led the offense with a four-hit game Sunday. He also will enter the series against the Cardinals hitting .462 on a 13-game hitting streak.
Cody Bellinger is on his own hit streak, pushing it to 12 games on Sunday. And the Dodgers have been running wild of late, leading Major League Baseball in steals during August with 19.
And even though the series against the Cardinals will have implications down the stretch, the team might have more of its focus on Kenley Jansen's visit Monday with a cardiologist. Jansen, who is on the disabled list because of an irregular heartbeat, could find out when he might be able to return.
Until then, the Dodgers' bullpen will have to hold things down while they wait for the closer's return. Their latest slip-up came Saturday when Dylan Floro balked in the game-ending run in the 10th inning after Max Muncy hit a game-tying homer off Edwin Diaz in the ninth.
"Now we've got to figure out ways to be on the right end of the one-run games," Turner said, according to mlb.com. "Winning the close games is something we have to do a better job of."
Left-hander Alex Wood (7-6, 3.51 ERA) will start Monday's series opener for the Dodgers and is working on a streak of 11 consecutive outings with three earned runs or less. He has just two career appearances against the Cardinals (one start) and has posted a 2.45 ERA in 7 1/3 innings.
Lefty Austin Gomber (3-0, 2.89) will pitch in the series opener for the Cardinals. The rookie will be making his fifth career start and his first-ever appearance against the Dodgers.