Here’s comes the toughest part of the tough stretch. The long, long tough stretch. Keep on keepin’ on, Cubs.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs took two of three in Minnesota after dropping two of three to the Indians. At 37-30, they’ve got the fourth best record in the NL, but, alas, only the third best record in the Central, thanks to the Pirates (39-30) and Cardinals (45-24).
The Dodgers, at 39-31, are actually only a fraction of a percent better than the Cubs so far, and they lead the West by 1.5 games over the Giants. They’ve lost five of seven, and hopefully that’s because they’re all just cold and will continue being cold for the next four days.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, June 22 at 7:05 CT on WGN-9.
- Tuesday, June 23 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Wednesday, June 24 at 7:05 CT on CSN, ESPN2.
- Thursday, June 24 at 1:20 CT on ABC-7, MLBN.
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.
Starters: Tsuyoshi Wada (3.68 ERA, 4.06 FIP; 2.73 K/BB), Jason Hammel (2.89 ERA, 3.09 FIP; 6.14 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (4.28 ERA, 3.44 FIP; 4.29 K/BB), Jon Lester (3.80 ERA, 3.57 FIP; 3.52 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Chris Coghlan, LF
- Chris Denorfia, RF
- Addison Russell, 2B
Starters: Clayton Kershaw (3.29 ERA, 2.57 FIP; 5.30 K/BB), Zack Greinke (1.81 ERA, 2.94 FIP; 4.88 K/BB), Mike Bolsinger (2.87 ERA, 3.18 FIP; 2.45 K/BB), Carlos Frias (4.68 ERA, 4.11 FIP; 1.89 K/BB)
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Joc Pederson, CF
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Howie Kendrick, 2B
- Andre Ethier/Alex Guerrero, LF
- Yasmani Grandal, C
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
It’s been a very deep – but very short – slump for Kris Bryant, who’s hitting .156/.182/.281 (21 wRC+) since June 14, and that includes his grand slam off of a position player. On the balance, though, it’s a good thing when you have to search for a one-week slump in a rookie’s season.
Conversely, Anthony Rizzo came out of his mini-slump in a big way (since he was still ripping the ball when he was “slumping”, it was to be expected). In that five-game AL park swing, Rizzo hit four homers, two doubles, two singles, walked once, and struck out just twice. Stuuuuuuud.
Starlin Castro in June: .288/.321/.411 with a 14.1% K rate. You’ll take that.
Beating the Dodgers requires out-scoring them (hey, wait … that’s always true!). That is to say, their offense is stupidly stacked. They are so good offensively that Justin Turner has been their most potent bat (hey, wait … that makes them sound bad!). That is to say, Turner is raking this year, hitting .333/.401/.579 with a 176 wRC+, but six(!) other Dodgers hitters have wRC+ better than 130.
The Dodgers have a 117 wRC+ as a team, which means the entire offense is 17% better than league average. The Cubs, by way of reference, are at 95.
So, how are the Dodgers losing any games? Well, mostly it’s the pitching, that hasn’t been great behind the front two starters (both of whom the Cubs face in this series).
Clayton Kershaw hasn’t quite been CLAYTON KERSHAW this year, but he’s at least still been CLAyton KERshaw, which means he’s good.