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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Dodgers Series Preview

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In which the Cubs again face one of the best lefthanders in the game.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cubs can win this series, I'd consider this a successful West Coast road trip. The Dodgers are a good team, but they do have their flaws and the Cubs have already defeated Clayton Kershaw in a game this year -- that was started by Travis Wood.

The Dodgers are likely going to be without Yasiel Puig, at least Friday night, as he hurt his hamstring -- again -- running the bases Thursday. I certainly don't root for injuries, but having Puig not in the lineup will clearly help the Cubs.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.35 ERA, 1.095 WHIP, 3.64 FIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.29 ERA, 0.921 WHIP, 2.12 FIP) Saturday: Jon Lester (8-9, 3.44 ERA, 1.204 WHIP, 3.13 FIP) vs. Mat Latos (4-9, 4.81 ERA, 1.272 WHIP, 3.54 FIP combined between Dodgers and Marlins) Sunday: Jake Arrieta (16-6, 2.22 ERA, 0.983 WHIP, 2.57 FIP) vs. Alex Wood (9-8, 3.70 ERA, 1.409 WHIP, 3.57 FIP combined between Dodgers and Braves)

Prediction

The Cubs have, at least on paper, the upper hand in the pitching matchups for two of these three games. Baseball working the way it does, they'll probably wind up defeating Kershaw and losing one of the games they are "supposed" to win based on the pitching matchup.

The Cubs will win two of these three games. Heck, the Cubs won two of three last year at Dodger Stadium and the starting pitchers in that series were Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada and Edwin Jackson, and Nate Schierholtz and Chris Valaika were in the starting lineup for two of the three.

This is a better team. Sure, the Dodgers are good, too... but this Cubs team has enough to win this series. Win Friday night and there's even an outside chance of the thing I dare not mention.

Up next

The Cubs return home to Wrigley Field to face the Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series beginning Monday night.