A short, holiday Series Preview in advance of today’s series against the Dodgers kicking off …
We’re Going Streaking
With yesterday’s sweep, the Cubs won their fifth game in a row, and have gone a long way to turning around that cold stretch that folks barely even remember. The Cubs are now 20 games over .500, and have a 6.5 game lead in the NL Central.
The Dodgers trail the Giants by 2.0 games in the NL West, with a record of 27-24. They just took two of three from the Mets in New York, and came into that series having won four in a row. Although they’ve got a pricey roster and loads of talent, they’ve really only started playing well recently. This series will be a nice test for both clubs.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, May 30 at 4:05 CT on WGN-9.
- Tuesday, May 31 at 7:05 CT on ABC-7, ESPN.
- Wednesday, June 1 at 7:05 CT on CSN, ESPN.
- Thursday, June 2 at 1:20 CT on CSN.
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: Jason Hammel (2.17 ERA, 3.37 FIP; 2.24 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (1.72 ERA, 2.73 FIP; 3.19 K/BB), Jon Lester (2.48 ERA, 3.34 FIP; 3.47 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (2.93 ERA, 2.77 FIP; 3.75 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Jorge Soler, LF
- Miguel Montero/David Ross, C
- Addison Russell, SS
Starters: Alex Wood (4.03 ERA, 3.34 FIP; 3.44 K/BB), Scott Kazmir (4.84 ERA, 5.14 FIP; 2.73 K/BB), Mike Bolsinger (4.50 ERA, 5.01 FIP; 2.67 K/BB), Kenta Maeda (3.00 ERA, 3.51 FIP; 3.00 K/BB)
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Corey Seager, SS
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Joc Pederson, CF
- Howie Kendrick, LF
- Yasmani Grandal, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Until yesterday, the Cubs had the three top position players in the NL by WAR, but Marcell Ozuna just barely passed Kris Bryant. Get it back, Kris.
Since the start of that Padres series, which probably-not-coincidentally started the Cubs’ mini-skid, Anthony Rizzo is hitting just .161/.293/.226 (75 plate appearances).
After a brilliant first four starts in MLB, Kenta Maeda has posted a much more meh 5.12/4.31/4.48 ERA/FIP/xFIP over his last six starts.
On the flip side, Alex Wood really struggled to open the season, but has gone 2.67/2.58/1.97 in his last five starts.
No Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers in this series, which is a bummer for baseball fans, but probably not a bummer for the Cubs’ chances of winning the series.
By WAR, the Dodgers’ leading position player is young shortstop Corey Seager, who is hitting .275/.333/.465 and playing good defense. Just behind him is the surprisingly resurgent Chase Utley, who is hitting .293/.381/.445.
From there, the Dodgers’ third best hitter is probably Joc Pederson, who seems to have figured out how to cut down on the significant strikeout woes that torpedoed the second half of his rookie campaign in 2015.
Meanwhile, guys like Yasiel Puig, Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner, and Yasmani Grandal have all been very disappointing on offense.