Series Preview: Dodgers at Cubs, May 3 - May 5, 2021

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Series Preview: Dodgers at Cubs, May 3 – May 5, 2021

Chicago Cubs

Later today, the Chicago Cubs begin a six-game home-stand against (1) the best team in baseball (on paper) and (2) the worst team in baseball (on paper).

The Dodgers are up first, with a trio of really tough starters penciled in (more on that in a second), and the Pirates return to Wrigley Field for their third series-matchup of the year this weekend. If the Cubs came away with three wins out of this six-game stretch, I think you’d have to take it.

We’re Going Streaking

Despite the best run differential in MLB, the Los Angeles Dodgers (17-12) are actually a half-game out of first, having lost seven of their last ten games. And most of that was against NL Central teams like the Brewers (who took 3 of 4) and the Reds (who took 2 of 3). Now, it’s the Chicago Cubs (12-16) turn, though they’ll have some really tough matchups in Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Trevor Bauer. The Cubs have still won just one series (a three-game sweep of the Mets) since their first series of the year.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Monday, May 3rd at 6:40 CT on MARQ, MLBN,  670 The Score
•   Tuesday, May 4th at 6:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Wednesday, May 5th at 6:40 CT on MARQ, ESPN, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Kyle Hendricks (R) vs. Walker Buehler (R)
Game 2: Adbert Alzolay (R) vs. Clayton Kershaw (L)
Game 3: Jake Arrieta (R) vs. Trevor Bauer (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras(?)
•   1B – Anthony Rizzo
•   2B – Nico Hoerner
•   3B – David Bote/Matt Duffy
•   SS – Javy Baez
•   LF – Kris Bryant
•   CF – Jake Marisnick
•   RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Jonathan Holder, Tyson Miller, Shelby Miller, Rowan Wick, Joc Pederson, Austin Romine, Ian Happ(?)

Los Angeles Dodgers

•   C – Will Smith
•   1B – Max Muncy
•   2B – Gavin Lux
•   3B – Justin Turner
•   SS – Corey Seager
•   LF – AJ Pollock
•   CF – Chris Taylor
•   RF – Mookie Betts

Unavailable: Cody Bellinger, Zach McKinistry, Brusdar Graterol, David Price, Corey Knebel, Dustin May

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -14 (23rd)
Dodgers: +45 (1st)

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.61 (14th)
Dodgers: 5.10 (3rd)

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 5.11 (25th)
Dodgers: 3.55 (3rd)

Keep An Eye Out For …

Kris Bryant. Dude. Has. Been. Good. Really. Really. Good. 

Gavin Lux. Ah, the uber-prospect we all wished the Cubs could acquire, but was never realistically on the table. Lux is having a rough transition to the big leagues, and it’s not actually his first cup of coffee. In 2019, he finished with an 87 wRC+ over 23 games. In 2020, he had just a 63 wRC+ in 19 games. And through 19 games this season, he’s slashing just .190/.232/.254 (38 wRC+). I’m plenty confident he’ll eventually be very good, but I wouldn’t mind if the slow start continued beyond this week.

Arrieta v. Bauer. An actual bada** versus a fake bada**. Nothing would make me happier than watching Jake Arrieta pound Trevor Bauer into the ground with a dominant performance against his Dodgers on Wednesday. And given the struggles throughout the rest of the Cubs rotation, Arrieta is kind of the Cubs top starter to watch at the moment, so this should be a really fun matchup. (With that said, Bauer has been excellent again this year, with a 2.48 ERA through six starts, plus 51 strikeouts to just 8 walks….)

Alzolay vs. Kershaw. As soon as I said that, though I remembered that Adbert Alzolay has been quietly excellent lately, and a matchup with a veteran like Clayton Kershaw should be pretty darn entertaining too. Kershaw is also having another monster season, with a 2.09 ERA, 5 walks, and 39 strikeouts through six starts. He gets hurt often, but man … he’s still having one hell of a career.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami