Series Preview: Dodgers Head to Chicago to Battle Cubs

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Mandatory Credit: Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

The past two seasons, the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs have traded NL championships. Starting Monday in Chicago, they will face off for the first time since the Dodgers clinched the 2017 NLCS in commanding fashion, led by three home runs from Enrique Hernandez.

Since then, two members of that championship team have left for supposedly greener walls in Chicago. The Dodgers will not face Yu Darvish, the losing pitcher of Game 7 in the World Series, for he is currently on the disabled list with inflammation of his right triceps. They will, however, presumably face Brandon Morrow at more than one point out of the bullpen. Morrow has appeared in 26 games for the Cubs, with 22.2 innings pitched, 25 strikeouts, 16 saves, a 1.59 ERA and 1.147 WHIP. He has only surrendered one homer and four runs total.

In Sunday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs’ second baseman Javier Baez was hit on the elbow with a pitch. As of this writing, there will be an X-ray on the elbow and his status is unclear for the Dodgers series. So far this season, Baez is batting .255 with 14 homers.

The Dodgers are coming off their eighth-straight series win, taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. The Cubs also took two of three from the Cardinals during the weekend, but were held scoreless in Sunday night’s game. They have not scored in three of their last five games.

Offensively this season, the Cubs have been lead by Albert Amora Jr, currently batting .325 with 15 doubles. Baez leads the team in homers with 14, followed by Kyle Schwarber with 12, Anthony Rizzo with 11, and Kris Bryant with nine. They are 14-6 in their last 20 games, 40-28 overall and second in the NL Central, 0.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.

Monday night’s game will see Kenta Maeda facing off against righty Tyler Chatwood. Madea is coming off a decent start against the Texas Rangers, his first in his return from the Dal with hip discomfort. Interestingly enough, none of the Cubs have ever faced him. Chatwood is 3-5 with a 4.12 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 13 games. He has only allowed three home runs all season, but he has walked 58.

Tuesday will be the return of Rich Hill from the disabled list, while the Cubs will send lefty Mike Montgomery to the mound. Hill has been on the DL since May 19, continuing to deal with his blister issues. He had a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga last Thursday, where he struck out 10. Montgomery is 2-2 on the year, with a 3.31 ERA and four home runs allowed alongside 29 strikeouts. He had started the season in the pen, but has recently been charged with taking over for the injured Darvish, and has pitched very well in that time.

Wednesday the pitching matchup will be the aces facing off—Ross Stripling against southpaw Jon Lester. Stripling looks to stay on his All-Star Game worthy campaign, and currently sits at 6-1 with a 1.76 ERA. Lester, one of the two workhorses of the Cubs pitching staff, is 8-2 with a 2.28 ERA over 83.0 innings pitched. He has 69 strikeouts and has allowed 10 home runs.

After a weekend series in New York against the Mets, the Dodgers will finish up their season series with the Cubs next week back at Dodger Stadium.

 

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