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Series Preview: Dodgers and Cubs to Square Off at The Ravine



The Dodgers and Cubs will meet for the second time this week starting tonight. Los Angeles will play host tonight after dropping two out of three games to the Cubs in Chicago. The Dodgers will get a chance Monday night against a rookie making his debut.

Pitching Probables

Monday, June 25, 7:10 PM PT

Kenta Maeda vs. Duane Underwood Jr

Maeda will get the start for the Dodgers in this one, looking to have a much better start than last week. Maeda went 3.2 innings against Chicago and gave up three earned runs. Kenta has pitched to a 3.84 earned run average in 2018, but he has also seen his strikeout rate shoot up. Having previously averaged 9.3 strikeouts per 9 innings in his MLB career, Maeda is up to 10.5 in 2018. He will look to build off of that at home where he has pitched much better.

Duane Underwood jr is ranked as the Cubs 29th prospect overall and will make his MLB debut tonight. He has not pitched particularly well at the AAA level this season,  with a 4.27 earned run average to show for it. He is getting the start after Tyler Chatwood had to be replaced by today’s probable Mike Montgomery. Chatwood’s wife went into labor yesterday.

 

Tuesday, June 26, 7:10 PM PT

Ross Stripling vs. Jon Lester

This one should be a pitcher’s duel to the very end. Stripling comes into this one riding a career season. He is sitting pretty at a 1.99 earned run average across 72 innings of work, both as a starter and in relief. Stripling has worked his way into the rotation with the injuries that have plagued the Dodgers and looks like he is there to stay. He had one of his worst games of the season in his last start versus the Cubs, allowing three earned runs across six innings.

Jon Lester has also been having himself a career year. The twelve-year veteran has pitched to a 2.10 earned run average and absolutely dominated right-handed hitters. We will have to see how well he does in this one, as he is significantly better when pitching at home.

 

Wednesday, June 27, 7:10 PM PT

Alex Wood vs. Kyle Hendricks

This is sort of the opposite matchup as the prior day. Both Wood and Hendricks have had setbacks this year after great performances the year prior. Wood has watched his earned run average balloon to 4.13 after having a pristine 2.72 in 2017.  He has looked much better over his last three starts though. In that time he has pitched to a 2.76 era across 15.1 innings of work. He will look to continue that trend Wednesday.

The good news for the Dodgers is that Hendricks is significantly worse on the road this season. His home era of 2.96 makes him seem like an elite ace compared to his road average of 4.78. Los Angeles will have to take advantage of that early.

 

Thursday, June 28, 12:10 PM PT

Clayton Kershaw vs. Jose Quintana

Dodgers fans will anxiously wait for this one. Kershaw opted to skip his rehab start in favor of a game versus the Mets over the weekend, and it came with mixed results. He allowed two earned runs over just three innings of work. Kershaw has worked through a number of injuries this year and it has resulted in an era of 2.94. Not bad by anyone else’s standards, but also not Kershaw-Esq.

Quintana could also make this tough on Kershaw. He has surprisingly pitched far better in away games this season compared to home. In fact, Quintana has a 3.22 earned run average on the road versus his 6.00 he has put up at home. The good news is that his splits are not great. Left-handed hitters have hit almost as well as righties this season off of Quintana. That bodes well for Los Angeles’ power lineup.

 

Dodgers Player to Watch: Cody Bellinger

There is n doubt at this point that Bellinger is going through a bit of a sophomore slump. He is hitting just 239 and seems to be striking out on pitches he would have crushed last year. But he has started to turn things around as of late. In New York specifically, Bellinger went 5-13(.385) and crushed three home runs. He also struck out just three times, which we will take as a victory at this point. Look for him to jump on the rookie tonight.

Analysis

As of Monday morning, the Dodgers sit 2.5 games out of first place in the west. It will be tough to make up ground against a good Cubs team, but tougher considering the DBacks will be playing Miami. Taking three games in this series would put Los Angeles in an excellent position to stay in the thick of things.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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