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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Dodgers Series Preview

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The Dodgers appear to be a good team. But are they?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers, who have spent more on payroll than any major-league team this year, have little to show for it outside Clayton Kershaw, who won't pitch in this series after his outing Sunday night in New York.

Don't believe me? Consider this.

Dodgers record when Kershaw starts: 10-1 
Dodgers record when anyone other than Kershaw starts: 17-23

That's a .425 winning percentage without Kershaw on the mound, roughly equivalent to the Astros or Athletics winning percentage this year -- and those two teams are tied for last place in the American League West.

Need more?

Clayton Kershaw's ERA in 2016: 1.56
All other Dodger starters ERA: 4.23

If that "all other Dodger starters" were a team ERA this year, it would rank 20th in MLB.

They even seem to hit better when Kershaw starts:

Dodgers' run differential with Kershaw starting: +35 (52-17)
Dodgers' run differential for all other starters: -2 (172-174)

That's 4.73 runs per game with Kershaw on the mound, 4.3 runs per game for all other starters. So, congratulations to Kershaw for his fantastic season so far. And I'm certainly happy the Cubs don't have to face him.

Fun fact

The Dodgers have no former Cubs on either their active or 40-man roster. The last ex-Cubs to play for the Dodgers were Justin Ruggiano and Darwin Barney, who did so last year.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jason Hammel (6-1, 2.17 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, 3.37 FIP) vs. Alex Wood (1-3, 4.03 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 3.34 FIP)

Tuesday: Jake Arrieta (9-0, 1.72 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 2.73 FIP) vs. Scott Kazmir (4-3, 4.84 ERA, 1.301 WHIP, 5.14 FIP)

Wednesday: Jon Lester (5-3, 2.48 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 3.34 FIP) vs. Mike Bolsinger (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 5.01 FIP)

Thursday: Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 2.93 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, 2.77 FIP) vs. Kenta Maeda (4-3, 3.00 ERA, 1.053 WHIP, 3.51 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 4:05 p.m. CT, WGN

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, ESPN (outside Chicago and Los Angeles markets)

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, ESPN (outside Chicago and Los Angeles markets)

Thursday: 1:20 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Prediction

There's pretty good evidence above that without Kershaw, the Dodgers are just not a good team. The Cubs are back on a roll. They'll take three of four.

Up next

The Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game series starting Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.