The Dodgers need Odalis Perez to put his Game 1 troubles behind him -- or else. (Matt York/AP)
LOS ANGELES -- For the first time since 1988, the Dodgers won a postseason game and assured that there would be a tomorrow for them in October.
The Dodgers extended their best-of-five National League Division Series against the Cardinals with a 4-0 victory in Game 3 behind Jose Lima's masterful shutout performance Saturday night, setting up Sunday's Game 4 at Dodger Stadium.
First pitch is slated for 8:10 p.m. ET.
The Dodgers got their tomorrow. Will there be a day after tomorrow, a Game 5 to be played Monday at St. Louis?
Well, that may depend in large part on whether Odalis Perez can make it happen. He'll have to put aside a rough outing in Monday's Game 1 to do it.
It's unlikely that Perez can follow the exact same formula that Lima used to hush the Cardinals' potent offense Saturday. But if Perez can dictate the tempo a little bit more like Lima than like he did in his own Game 1 performance, he'll have a better chance of giving the Dodgers a chance to win.
Los Angeles lost Game 1 by an 8-3 count when the Cardinals racked up five two-out runs off Perez in the third inning, coasting to the victory from there.
"I think Odalis is very capable of pitching against this club," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
But is he capable of winning? That's the question for Sunday.
He'll have to take a page out of Lima Time's huge Game 3 performance to do it, Tracy said.
"One thing I think is very safe to say is that this obviously is a club that you don't want to be in too many situations where you're pitching from behind," Tracy said. "I think aggression is something that really comes to mind. You have to implement and use both sides of the plate and get them swinging the bat. You have to do that. But you have to make quality pitches."
Jeff Suppan / P
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Of course, that will be the order of the day for Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan as well. He'll be making his postseason debut with the intent of shutting down the series before it would have to return to St. Louis for a decisive Game 5, and he'll have to draw upon his tremendous success on the road this season -- 10-1 with a 3.55 ERA and a .226 opponents' batting average.
Just as important, the Cardinals will have to get that incredibly balanced and deep lineup back on track. After scoring 16 runs in their first two games, including 13 with two outs, the Cardinals had only one baserunner touch third base -- leadoff man Tony Womack in the first inning -- in getting shut out in a complete-game effort. Cincinnati's Aaron Harang last pulled the feat on Aug. 26.
Game 3 starter Matt Morris has confidence his teammates can pick him up after a solid but losing effort Saturday.
"We're not down," Morris said. "I'm sure they can't do this two times in a row."
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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