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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Dodgers series preview

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Hey, look! Another team the Cubs haven’t faced yet in 2021.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This would appear to be a three-game mismatch for the Cubs, but see some recent numbers below.

For more on the Dodgers, here’s Eric Stephen, managing editor of our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA:

The Dodgers will send the top three of their rotation to the mound at Wrigley Field, with Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Trevor Bauer all pitching against the Cubs, and all on five days rest. Starting pitching has been the backbone of the team to date, near the top of the league in several categories and lasting deeper into games than any other staff. Though in the last two weeks, even great starting pitching hasn’t mattered much because of an offense that has gone long stretches with very little production.

Over the last 15 games, the Dodgers are hitting .200/.318/.334 as a team while averaging 4.13 runs per game, and that includes a 16-run explosion on Sunday that is propping up those numbers. They’ve scored one or two runs seven times in those 15 games, and are 5-10 in that stretch. It’s a combination of injuries — Cody Bellinger and productive newcomer Zach McKinstry are both out and probably still a few weeks away — and poor performance by regulars like Gavin Lux and Max Muncy (even though his league-leading walk total helps hide two hits in his last 39 at-bats). AJ Pollock was one of those underperforming regulars until the last week or so, culminating in his two-homer, eight-RBI outburst on Sunday. Edwin Ríos went from steady power threat and occasional starter the last two years to non-entity so far this year, currently 0 for his last 28.

The bullpen is currently gassed thanks to consecutive bullpen games over the weekend, one planned and the other by necessity after Dustin May hurt his arm and is likely out a while. The Dodgers are currently carrying 14 pitchers, including 10 relievers, though they might send one down for an extra bench player at some point in the series. Their hope is to get all three of the starters to go deep, as they pretty much have all year, and just get to Thursday’s off day, which ends a string of 14 straight days with a game.

Fun fact

Since the Cubs returned to contention in 2015, they are 16-18 vs. the Dodgers in regular-season games — but 11-6 against them at Wrigley Field.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (1-3, 7.54 ERA, 1.765 WHIP, 8.28 FIP) vs. Walker Buehler, RHP (1-0, 3.16 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, 3.06 FIP)

Tuesday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (1-2, 4.71 ERA, 0.905 WHIP, 3.74 FIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw, LHP (4-2, 2.09 ERA, 0.905 WHIP, 2.47 FIP)

Wednesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (3-3, 4.31 ERA, 1.309 WHIP, 4.61 FIP) vs. Trevor Bauer, RHP (3-1, 2.48 ERA, 0.675 WHIP, 3.57 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Dodgers market territories)

Tuesday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, ESPN (no blackouts)

Prediction

Well, goodness. These don’t look like very good pitching matchups. On the other hand, since their 13-2 start, the Dodgers are 4-10. So... maybe this isn’t as big a mismatch as you think.

Given the Cubs’ recent success vs. the Dodgers at Wrigley (see above): Two of three.

Up next

The Cubs are off Thursday — their first off day after playing 16 straight days — then host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Dodgers?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    3
    (6 votes)
  • 10%
    2
    (17 votes)
  • 38%
    1
    (63 votes)
  • 47%
    0
    (78 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now