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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Dodgers series preview

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What, you again?

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The photo at the top of this post depicts the Dodgers celebrating their win at Wrigley Field... six days ago. Thus there isn’t a whole lot new I can tell you about the Dodgers that we didn’t all see last week when the Cubs took two of three from them in that rain-delayed series.

While the Cubs were being swept by the Reds over the weekend, the Dodgers swept the Mets at Citi Field. And speaking of that sweep in Cincinnati, it would be wise to heed the words of Joe Maddon:

“We just beat the Dodgers two out of three, and we’re the best team since the ’27 Yankees,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Cincinnati beats you up for three days, and all of a sudden it’s doom and gloom. I cannot live my life that way.”

Obviously Joe said that before Sunday’s loss, but the message means the same thing even after the four-game sweep. I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating: Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, the Cubs looked bad in losing four straight to the Reds, but they had stretches in 2015, 2016 and 2017 where they looked as bad, or worse, and still had three straight 90+ win seasons.

And currently, they still sit just two games out of first place. They’ll be just fine.

It would help if “fine” started with this series, though.

Fun fact

Two former Cubs are Dodgers coaches. Mark Prior is their bullpen coach and Brant Brown their assistant hitting coach. The Daily Herald’s Bruce Miles talked to both when the Dodgers were at Wrigley last week. Worth reading.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Duane Underwood Jr. (making MLB debut) vs. Kenta Maeda, RHP (4-4, 3.84 ERA, 1.393 WHIP, 3.21 FIP)

Tuesday: Jon Lester, LHP (9-2, 2.10 ERA, 1.089 WHIP, 4.19 FIP) vs. Ross Stripling, RHP (6-2, 1.99 ERA, 1.037 WHIP, 2.46 FIP)

Wednesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (5-7, 3.73 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 4.60 FIP) vs. Alex Wood, LHP (3-5, 4.13 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, 3.32 FIP)

Thursday: Jose Quintana, LHP (6-6, 4.26 ERA, 1.382 WHIP, 4.37 FIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw, LHP (1-4, 2.94 ERA, 1.173 WHIP, 3.35 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 9:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN (outside Chicago and Los Angeles markets)

Tuesday: 9:10 p.m. CT, WGN, ESPN (outside Chicago and Los Angeles markets)

Wednesday: 9:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago Plus, ESPN (outside Chicago and Los Angeles markets)

Thursday: 2:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Los Angeles markets)

National TV for all four games here. Think the networks like a Chicago/L.A. matchup?

Prediction

Well. The last series didn’t wind up anywhere close to what I predicted, or what any of us wanted.

But the Cubs do seem to raise their game against perceived “tougher” competition. The pitching matchups, especially with Lester, Hendricks and Quintana all getting an extra day’s rest with Underwood taking the Monday start, would suggest the Cubs could come out of L.A. with a split of this four-game set, so that’s what I’m going to call for.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field to take on the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series that begins Friday afternoon at an unusual time, 4:05 p.m. CT. The reason for that starting time is the Cubs needing to return from L.A. the day before. They likely aren’t landing in Chicago before midnight, and since the city won’t allow a Friday night game, 4:05 is about the latest they can start.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Dodgers?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    4
    (13 votes)
  • 19%
    3
    (36 votes)
  • 34%
    2
    (64 votes)
  • 25%
    1
    (47 votes)
  • 12%
    0
    (23 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now