Both teams are coming off sweeps when they face off in the first game of a four-game series at Busch Stadium on Monday.
The Cardinals had scored 29 runs in 10 games before erupting for a 12-run seventh inning against the Cubs on Saturday. That burst tied a franchise record for a single frame and was the largest by any team this season. It also left manager Mike Matheny to answer questions about whether his team's offense is "all or nothing."
"I think it's a pretty fair assessment right now," Matheny said. "I don't think it necessarily has to be that and I don't think it's gonna end up being that. I certainly don't want it to be that. But there's too much potential there to think that we can't score a few runs every night. What the magic number is -- who knows?"
Matheny hoped the 12-run inning could be a "launching pad" toward consistency for St. Louis, which came back with seven runs in Sunday's win over the Cubs.
One factor is performance with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals collected eight hits in those situations on Saturday after notching a total of seven in their previous six games.
Another is home runs. St. Louis started Sunday ranked 12th in the Majors in homers, but only 28th in July. They had 11 in 16 games before Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran went back-to-back in the fifth inning on Sunday.
"I don't really want to say we're not a home run-hitting team," third baseman David Freese said. "But when we put the ball over the fence, we find ways to win ballgames."
Billingsley hasn't won a game since June 10. In fact, he's taken the loss in each of his five starts since then, posting a 6.21 ERA that has raised his season mark from 3.57 to 4.30.
Billingsley will be making his first appearance since a July 7 defeat to Arizona. He was scratched from his next start and subsequently placed on the disabled list with a sore right elbow. After that one-start absence, Billingsley threw a bullpen session on Friday and is ready to go.
"He was good when he came in today after a bullpen and he's on schedule," manager Don Mattingly said. "He only missed one turn. He had inflammation in the elbow and we'll pay some attention to him, but there's no 60-pitch limit or anything like that. We'll just be a little cautious."
Dodgers: Hot corner instability
Mattingly has started seven different players at third base this season -- Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston, Elian Herrera, Luis Cruz, Justin Sellers and Ivan De Jesus. None of them has made three straight starts at third since Uribe from June 30-July 2.
Entering Sunday, the Dodgers ranked 24th in the Majors with a .678 OPS from the position, leading many to speculate that Los Angeles could look to upgrade through a trade before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
For now, Mattingly will try to play the matchups. He said he hoped Uribe's four-RBI effort on Saturday would get him going, but on Sunday, Uribe went 0-for-4 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Catcher A.J. Ellis returned to the starting lineup on Sunday after taking a game off with left knee inflammation. He went 2-for-5 with a walk.
Cardinals: Steady Kelly on the mound
Rookie Joe Kelly will make his eighth start and first against the Dodgers on Monday. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 2.75 ERA, has recorded five straight quality starts and has yet to allow more than three runs in a game.
The right-hander has put his share of runners on base, with 41 hits and 14 walks allowed in 39 innings, and he has produced only 25 strikeouts. But so far, he has been able to pitch out of jams.
Kelly's last start came Tuesday at Milwaukee, where he gave up three runs -- two earned -- on six hits in six innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.
Holliday is batting .440 with 14 doubles and six home runs in his last 30 games.
The Dodgers swept a three-game series from the Cardinals in May in Los Angeles, and the teams will meet for another four contests there in September.
Billingsley gave up five runs -- three earned -- in six innings against the Cardinals on May 20. He has a 6.41 ERA in four career starts at Busch Stadium.
Holliday has logged 35 plate appearances against Billingsley, going 8-for-25 with 10 walks and three home runs to support a 1.234 OPS.