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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Dodgers series preview

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The Cubs begin a key 10-game road trip in Los Angeles.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs swept the Dodgers at Wrigley Field last month, winning games started by Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler.

They won’t face Bauer in this series, and that sweep was completed while the Dodgers were missing several key players.

Since that series the Dodgers have the second-best record in the National League at 27-15... but the Cubs aren’t far behind since that date with a 26-17 mark.

In the 42 games L.A. has played since then they have scored 223 runs and allowed 164. The Cubs have been even better at run prevention in the 43 games played since the Dodger sweep at Wrigley, allowing just 145 runs. But the Cubs offense has plated just 175 runs in that span, and I’m sure you are quite familiar with the team’s offensive woes.

So it would seem that Cubs pitching ought to be good enough to hold the Dodger offense down this weekend. It’s simply a matter of whether Cubs bats can wake up.

Further, it should be noted that between June 4 and June 20 the Dodgers didn’t play a team with a winning record and went 11-4 over that span. After that, though, they just completed a series in San Diego against the Padres and got swept.

Should be an interesting weekend.

Fun fact

Since the Cubs returned to contention in 2015, they are 19-18 against the Dodgers in regular-season play. Unfortunately for this series, that splits into 14-6 at Wrigley Field and 5-12 at Dodger Stadium.

Probable pitching matchups

Thursday: Zach Davies, RHP (4-4, 4.66 ERA, 1.486 WHIP, 4.63 FIP) vs. Walker Buehler, RHP (7-0, 2.38 ERA, 0.904 WHIP, 3.53 FIP)

Friday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-8, 5.45 ERA, 1.485 WHIP, 5.59 FIP) vs. Tony Gonsolin, RHP (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.889 WHIP, 3.38 FIP).

Saturday: Alec Mills, RHP (3-1, 5.18 ERA, 1.485 WHIP, 4.74 FIP) vs. Julio Urias, LHP (9-3, 3.99 ERA, 1.068 WHIP, 3.61 FIP)

Sunday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-6, 4.19 ERA, 1.027 WHIP, 4.48 FIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw, LHP (8-7, 3.43 ERA, 1.007 WHIP, 2.96 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 9:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Dodgers market territories)

Friday: 9:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 6:15 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (regional — coverage map)

Sunday: 6:08 p.m. CT, ESPN

Prediction

Well, this one was never going to be easy, and the pitching matchups seem particularly unfavorable to the Cubs.

On the other hand, the Cubs did sweep the Dodgers at Wrigley Field in May, although that was when the Dodgers had a lot of key players out with injuries. The Cubs continue to do well against LH pitching and LH starters — they’re 13-6 vs. LH starters this year.

So I’m going to cross my fingers and say the Cubs can get out of L.A. with a series split.

Up next

The Cubs head to Milwaukee for a three-game series against their division rivals, the Brewers, beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Dodgers?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    4
    (10 votes)
  • 7%
    3
    (21 votes)
  • 41%
    2
    (114 votes)
  • 35%
    1
    (96 votes)
  • 11%
    0
    (32 votes)
273 votes total Vote Now