Coming off a series win over the Diamondbacks secured by yet another David Bote walk-off, the Cubs will host the Dodgers for a three-game series starting on Tuesday night at 7:05pm CT. The Cubs have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and are looking to finish their homestand on a strong note before heading to Arizona for a rematch.
After their 3-7 start, the Cubs have climbed back to the .500 mark behind repeated strong performances by lefties José Quintana and Cole Hamels. Righthander Kyle Hendricks also found his footing in his most recent start, allowing no runs on three hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts over seven innings.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have had a strange month of April. They started out the month in first place, then fell behind the upstart Padres thanks to a six-game losing streak against the Cardinals and Brewers. The Dodgers then went on to win six straight games against the Reds and Brewers and are once again in sole possession of first place in the NL West.
While their opponents have announced all of their starters for the series (see below), the Cubs have only announced two of three. Quintana will take the hill in the Tuesday night opener, while Hamels will follow him on Wednesday. Thursday’s Cubs starter is TBD.
The Cubs do not have extensive experience against the probable Dodgers starters. Kenta Maeda has a 1-0 record with a 2.53 ERA over 10.2 innings. Walker Buehler is 0-1 in one start, with an ERA of 45.00, thanks to having allowed five earned runs in one inning. Ross Stripling is also 0-1 against the Cubs in five appearances (two starts), with an ERA of 2.12.
Quintana also has limited experience against the Dodgers since he spent most of his career in the American League. He is 0-1 with an ERA of 1.40 in three starts. Hamels is 3-2 with a 1.86 ERA over nine starts.
In order to be successful against the Dodgers, Cubs pitchers will need to keep the ball in the park. LA ranks second in MLB in home runs as of April 22, led by Cody Bellinger‘s 11 dingers. Joc Pederson is right behind with 10. The Cubs will also need to score early and often against the Dodgers’ strong starting staff in order to keep the ball out of the hands of closer Kenley Jansen.
After a quiet series against Arizona, cleanup hitter Javy Báez delivered the Cubs’ offense on Sunday, going 2-for-3 with one RBI and scoring the winning run on Bote’s big single. Anthony Rizzo, who has had a slow start to the year, also went 2-for-3 with one run scored on El Mago’s RBI triple. Maybe that performance will get him warmed up for the coming series and the rest of the season.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
Tuesday 4/23 at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and MLB Network (out of market)
Wednesday 4/24 at 7:05pm CT on WGN
Thursday 4/25 at 1:20pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and MLB Network (out of market)
What to Watch For
- Kyle Schwarber vs. Maeda: .750 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
- Bellinger is second in MLB with 11 homers and also leads MLB with 26 runs scored. It will be key for Cubs pitchers to not allow baserunners ahead of the LA sluggers.
- Quintana is 2-0 in his last two starts with no runs allowed in 14.0 IP and 18 strikeouts. Will he continue that dominance against the Dodgers?
- Hamels has been the Cubs’ best starter other than Jon Lester, going 3-0 in his last three starts with 19 strikeouts in 21.0 IP. It would be great to see Hamels go deep into another game against LA.
- So far, Rizzo and Kris Bryant have not been major contributors to the offense. Hopefully the appearance of the Cubs’ old playoff rivals will get the competitive juices flowing and heat up their bats.
- Jason Heyward started off the year with four homers, but has not gone yard since April 10 against the Pirates. Will he get another one in this series?