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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Dodgers series preview, take 2

Three games in two days.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

EDITOR’S NOTE: ICYMI yesterday, here’s the series preview, with updated game times, TV channels, pitching matchups and a different photo! Today’s Game 1 preview will post on this site at 10:30 a.m. CT.

And yes, there are a few new things about this preview compared to yesterday’s, so even if you read that one, you should read it again!


The Dodgers have been really good this year. At 16-7 (.696) they have the best winning percentage in the NL and have won four of five.

The Cubs are... cold. Since their 21-0 crushing of the Pirates April 23, they’ve lost seven of nine.

Fun, huh?

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

Pitching has been the Dodgers calling card so far this season, unusually stingy so far even when adjusting for the low offensive environment. They’ve allowed two or fewer runs 12 times in 23 games so far, and allowed more than three runs in a game just four times.

Because of two off days this week and Friday’s rainout, all three Dodgers starters this weekend (Tyler Anderson, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler) will be on at least six days rest. Part of the reason for that is this weekend series starts a stretch for the Dodgers in which they play 31 games in 31 days. I’m looking forward to the matchup on Sunday night with Buehler (14 scoreless innings over his last two starts) and Marcus Stroman.

What stands out about the offense, aside from leading the majors in runs per game, is how regular a lineup the team has. Every year under in the Andrew Friedman era, the Dodgers have platooned at least one position, and usually multiple. But this year it’s basically been the nine regulars almost every day, save for spot starts for the two non-catcher bench players (Edwin Ríos, Hanser Alberto), and Austin Barnes catching once per series. Barnes will likely catch Kershaw on Saturday.

Justin Turner and Max Muncy have struggled mightily, though Muncy is still walking a ton so his overall numbers haven’t cratered. He broke a hitless skid on Wednesday, including a home run.

Fun fact

A new fun fact, different from yesterday’s!

The Dodgers have allowed more than five runs only once in their 23 games so far this year, nine to the Rockies in a 9-4 loss at Colorado April 10.

The Cubs have allowed more than five runs seven times in their 24 games this season, all losses.

Pitching matchups

Saturday, Game 1: Drew Smyly, LHP (1-2, 2.79 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 4.79 FIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw, LHP (3-0, 2.35 ERA, 0.696 WHIP, 2.01 FIP)

Saturday, Game 2: Daniel Norris, LHP (0-1, 6.00 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 5.26 FIP) vs. Tyler Anderson, LHP (2-0, 2.55 ERA, 0.962 WHIP, 3.15 FIP)

Sunday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (1-3, 5.13 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 4.20 FIP) vs. Walker Buehler, RHP (3-1, 2.12 ERA, 1.112 WHIP, 3.13 FIP)

Norris is probably going to be an “opener” in Saturday’s nightcap. He hasn’t thrown more than 23 pitches in any outing so far this year.

Times & TV channels

Saturday, Game 1: 12:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Dodgers market territories)

Saturday, Game 2: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

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

Prediction

Hopefully, the Cubs can avoid being swept. Having Marcus Stroman face Walker Buehler gives them a chance in the Sunday night game.

The Dodgers are hitting slightly worse vs. LHP (.657 OPS) than RHP (.736 OPS), so maybe starting two lefthanders here could be helpful.

Up next

The Cubs head to San Diego for a three-game series against the Padres that begins Monday evening.

Poll

Once again, how many games will the Cubs win against the Dodgers?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    3
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    2
    (7 votes)
  • 29%
    1
    (33 votes)
  • 61%
    0
    (69 votes)
113 votes total Vote Now