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dodgers logoAnd on into August we go. In the current phase of the Chicago Cubs’ building plan – by which I mean the last three years, really – August has marked something of a changing point to the year. We’re past the non-waiver trade deadline, and it’s already time to start looking to the future. But the games, they go on. Some day soon, August is going to feel very different.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs took three of four from the Rockies, and are officially smoking hot! Right?

The Dodgers have a 3.5 game lead in the NL West, which has become markedly less competitive than it was looking a couple months ago. The Dodgers are on a six-game winning streak, having just swept the Braves and Giants.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, August 1 at 9:10 CT on WGN.
  • Saturday, August 2 at 8:10 CT on CSN.
  • Sunday, August 3 at 3:10 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.

Cubs

Starters: Kyle Hendricks (2.33 ERA, 4.11 FIP; 2.33 K/BB), Tsuyoshi Wada (3.38 ERA, 2.63 FIP; 2.17 K/BB), Edwin Jackson (5.79 ERA, 4.25 FIP; 2.04 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/CF
  2. Chris Coghlan, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  6. Justin Ruggiano, CF/RF
  7. Ryan Sweeney/Junior Lake/Nate Schierholtz, LF/RF/CF
  8. Welington Castillo, C
  9. Pitcher

Dodgers

Starters: Dan Haren (4.49 ERA, 4.52 FIP; 3.57 K/BB), Hyun-Jin Ryu (3.44 ERA, 2.84 FIP; 4.57 K/BB), Josh Beckett (2.74 ERA, 4.29 FIP; 2.81 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Dee Gordon, 2B
  2. Yasiel Puig, CF
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Hanley Ramirez, SS
  5. Carl Crawford, LF (Obviously Andre Either rotates in, too)
  6. Matt Kemp, RF
  7. Juan Uribe, 3B
  8. A.J. Ellis, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

I’m very excited that we’re going to get to see Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada in this series, facing a quality Dodgers lineup in a hostile environment. Let’s see how they respond.

You know who’s crazy hot, and has been for a really long time? The answer is no, you didn’t know, because the answer is John Baker: going all the way back to June 27, he’s hitting .371/.500/.486. That’s more than a month of crazy production. (So what if it’s only 44 plate appearances …. )

The Dodgers optioned Darwin Barney to AAA to get some work at SS and 3B earlier this week, so it’s possible we won’t see him in this series.

He’s not Aroldis Chapman (no one is), but Kenley Jansen is pretty damn good, with a 37.2% K rate and a 7.1% BB rate.

Matt Kemp’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. He’s up to .286/.353/.462 with a 133 wRC+.

The Dodgers are getting huge production from Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke as bench pieces. That’s nice. On Van Slyke, looking for a guy who won’t have a starting job next year on his own team, but who would be a nice trade target? He’s your guy.

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