Well, game one of the six-game road trip didn’t go as planned, but the Cubs have five more chances (two against the Dodgers and three against the Padres) to get that momentum back.
But sandwiched between a tough pitching matchup last night (a renewed Alex Wood) and arguably the toughest pitching matchup tomorrow (Clayton Kershaw), the Cubs have a tough pitching matchup today! Woohoo!
Starting for the Dodgers is right-hander Brandon McCarthy. Sure, McCarthy’s 33 years old, has thrown just 63.0 innings in the last two seasons (2015-2016) combined, and has a 3.76 ERA this year … but his 3.07 FIP through seven starts this season is tied for 11th best in baseball with Jon Lester (two of the guys ahead of them are Kershaw and Wood). With that said, today’s matchup is easily the Cubs’ most favorable of the weekend, so they’d be wise to take advantage.
Starting opposite McCarthy is John Lackey. Lackey is coming off a pretty rough start against the Giants, wherein he allowed five earned runs through 5.0 IP. What’s becoming apparent here in 2017, is that Lackey’s biggest issues have come in the first three innings of the game.
Check out his opponent slash line at different points in the game (Baseball Reference):
Innings 1-3: .304/.344/.598
Innings 4-6: .253/.321/.432
Innings 7-9: .000/.000/.000 (3 PAs)
It doesn’t bode well for Lackey (or the Cubs, for that matter) that he’s only seen 3 batters in the seventh inning or later this season, and I think the rest of the stats speak for themselves. Lackey needs to get off to a good start, because if and when he does, the rest tends to work out all right.
A loss today losses the series, but a win forces an exciting Jon Lester/Kershaw rubber match tomorrow. I’m very much rooting for the latter.
Los Angeles Dodgers (29-20) at Chicago Cubs (25-22) – 6:15 CT on FOX, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: John Lackey (R): 4.82 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 3.83 xFIP; 3.67 K/BB
Dodgers: Brandon McCarthy (L): 3.76 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 3.52 xFIP; 3.18 K/BB
Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup:
- Chris Taylor, CF
- Corey Seager, SS
- Yasmani Grandal, C
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Enrique, Hernandez, 3B
- Cody Bellinger, LF
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Brandon McCarthy, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jon Jay, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Miguel Montero, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- John Lackey, P