The Dodgers will be the Cubs’ first really big test this year. L.A. has changed quite a bit since their 111-win season in 2022, with several free agents leaving and the team not really replacing them with similar talent.
They are coming off a road trip where they lost three of four in Arizona, but then took two of three from the Giants in San Francisco. Unlike the Cubs, who have played only five divisional games so far, all 13 of the Dodgers’ games to date have been against N.L. West teams.
It’ll be fun to see how Cody Bellinger performs in his first series in his former home ballpark. Old friend alert: Jason Heyward has hit three home runs for the Dodgers so far, but overall is batting .222/.286/.722 (4-for-18) with five strikeouts.
For more on the Dodgers, here’s Eric Stephen, managing editor of our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA.
The Dodgers had an up-and-down start to their season. Some of that was to be expected, as they don’t have the depth they’ve been known for over the last half-decade or so. The soft underbelly of the rotation starts the first two games of this series against the Cubs. Noah Syndergaard had one good start and one really bad one. Michael Grove has allowed 12 runs on 14 hits in his first two starts, recording only 22 outs. The bullpen has been shaky, with a 22.7-percent strikeout rate that ranks 22nd in the majors.
Rookies James Outman and Miguel Vargas have fit right into the offense. Max Muncy had a rough start (4-for-41) before going back to a step-back maneuver to start his swing, which he used last year to turn things around. Muncy hit four home runs against the Giants, two in both games he started. Shortstop Miguel Rojas missed five games last week with a left groin strain, then left Wednesday’s game with a cramp in his left hamstring. Chris Taylor has filled in at shortstop in addition to playing third base and left field, but he hasn’t hit at all, just 3-for-33 with the highest strikeout rate in the league.
Well, this is a fact, but not really fun: The Cubs have lost the last 10 games they’ve played against the Dodgers, dating back nearly two years, and were outscored 60-25 in those 10 contests. The last time the Cubs defeated the Dodgers was their combined no-hitter at Dodger Stadium June 24, 2021. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
Probable pitching matchups
Friday: Justin Steele, LHP (1-0, 0.75 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 2.82 FIP) vs. Noah Syndergaard, RHP (0-1, 6.30 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 5.00 FIP)
Saturday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (0-2, 7.00 ERA, 1.667 WHIP, 2.07 FIP) vs. Michael Grove, RHP (0-1, 14.73 ERA, 2.318 WHIP, 2.45 FIP)
Sunday: Drew Smyly, LHP (0-1, 6.52 ERA, 1.448 WHIP, 4.23 FIP) vs. Julio Urias, LHP (3-0, 1.50 ERA, 0.833 WHIP, 2.40 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Friday: 9:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Saturday: 8:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Sunday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Dodgers market territories)
As noted by Eric Stephen, the Cubs are getting a bit of a break with the two starters they’ll be facing in the first two games of this series. It’d be nice if Jameson Taillon would rise to the occasion and put together a good start after a couple of not-so-great outings.
I’d love to say the Cubs will win two of three here, but I will settle for one win.
Also, if you don’t get your fill of the Dodgers this weekend, they’ll be at Wrigley Field for a four-game series next weekend.
The Cubs head to Oakland for a three-game series against the Athletics which begins Monday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Dodgers?
This poll is closed