Series Preview: Dogers at Cubs, June 18 – June 20, 2018

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Series Preview: Dogers at Cubs, June 18 – June 20, 2018

Series Previews

The Chicago Cubs are in the middle of a tough little stretch of baseball, including games against the Phillies, Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals, and Dodgers all within a couple weeks. But also … so far, so good.

They beat the Phillies (2-1), Pirates (2-1), and Cardinals (2-1), lost to the Brewers (1-2), and are starting the first three (of seven) games against the Dodgers at home tonight. Of course, as you’ll see, the Dodgers have been pretty good lately despite a ridiculous number of injuries, so that early season narrative of them stinking it up has been mostly washed away.

They’re still without Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and are only getting Rich Hill back tomorrow. So, basically a full rotation has been on the DL, and they’re still winning. So buckle up. They’re doing things.

But so are the Cubs, who are just barely out of first place, and could be getting Yu Darvish and Carl Edwards Jr. back sometime before the All-Star break if everything breaks right. Here’s hoping.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (40-28) just took two of three from the Cardinals after losing a three-game series to the Brewers. At 0.5 games back, they’re still right within striking distance of the Brewers and still have the fewest losses in the National League.

The Los Angeles Dodgers (37-33) just beat the Giants in two of three after sweeping the Rangers in two straight. They won three series in a row before that, too, which means they’ve been on quite the hot streak lately. Also important to note: the Dodgers had two off days last week and have another one on Thursday, so they are very well-rested. After a dreadful start, they’re just 1.5 games behind the Diamondbacks in the West.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Monday, June 18 at 7:05 CT on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, June 19 at 7:05 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, June 20 at 1:20 CT on WGN, MLBN (out-of-market), 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Tyler Chatwood (4.12 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 1.00 K/BB)
  • Mike Montgomery (3.31 ERA, 3.89 FIP; 2.23 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (2.28 ERA, 4.19 FIP; 2.46 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Javy Baez
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Albert Almora/Ian Happ
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

Unavailable: Eddie Butler, Yu Darvish, Carl Edwards Jr.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Probable Pitchers:

  • Kenta Maeda (3.61 ERA, 3.02 FIP; 3.29 K/BB)
  • Rich Hill (6.20 ERA, 6.33 FIP; 1.92 K/BB)
  • Ross Stripling (1.76 ERA, 2.41 FIP; 7.09 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Yasmani Grandal
  • 1B – Cody Bellinger
  • 2B – Logan Forsythe
  • 3B –  Justin Turner
  • SS – Chris Taylor
  • LF – Matt Kemp
  • CF – Joc Pederson
  • RF – Yasiel Puig

Unavailable: Pedro Baez, Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Clayton Kershaw, Tom Koehler, Chase Utley, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dennis Santana, Corey Seager, Julio Urias

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Tyler Chatwood is frustrating. Two games ago, he walked seven batters but allowed just one earned run. Last game, he walked two batters but allowed four earned runs. In both games he was getting ground balls at truly silly rate (72.7% and 80%) while also getting A TON of weak contact and almost no hard contact. Shrug. I don’t really know what to say other than, he really, truly does have the stuff to be special, but just hasn’t put it all together yet. He’ll have at least until the All-Star break, I’d guess, to prove he needs to remain in the rotation when Yu Darvish comes back.

Cubs Player: Ian Happ’s bat has been in a bit of a slumber. Since May 20, he’s slashing just .173/.358/.327 (87 wRC+) while striking out 35.8% of the time. Of course, that 22.4% walk rate has kept his OBP way up there and helps hold his head above water. He hasn’t been getting into the lineup very consistently during this stretch either, as Albert Almora Jr. continues to flourish (121 wRC+ over that stretch) and Jason Heyward does his thing.

Dodgers Pitcher: Rich Hill is coming off the disabled list (blister) after allowing four hits and two unearned runs in a Minor League rehab start. He’s been out since May 20, so this will be his first big league action in quite a while. When healthy, he’s still quite good.

Dodgers Player: Cody Bellinger has had an uneven season, but is slashing .250/.412/.650 in the month of June with four doubles and four homers in just 51 plate appearances. He’s also crushing the ball during that stretch (45.5% hard-hit rate) and rarely ever puts it on the ground (27.3% ground ball rate). Whatever was going on with him at the beginning of the year is gone. He’s scary again.


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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.