Baseball

Series Preview – Cubs vs. Dodgers: You Wanted The Best…

vs.

RECORDS: Cubs 38-29   Dodgers 45-23

GAMETIMES: Thursday and Friday 9:10, Saturday 8:10, Sunday 6:05

TV: NBCSN Thursday, WGN Friday, ABC Saturday, ESPN Sunday

WE KNOW YOU LOVE LA, THERE’S NOTHING LEFT TO SAY: True Blue LA

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Jon Lester vs. Clayton Kershaw

Kyle Hendricks vs. Rich Hill

Yu Darvish vs. Walker Buehler

Jose Quintana vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu

PROBABLE CUBS LINEUP

Kyle Schwarber – LF

Kris Bryant – RF

Anthony Rizzo – 1B

Javier Baez – SS

Willson Contreras – C

Albert Almora Jr. – CF

Addison Russell – 2B

David Bote – 3B (batting 9th)

PROBABLE DODGERS LINEUP

Enrique Hernandez – LF

Justin Turner – 3B

David Freese – 1B

Cody Bellinger – RF

Chris Taylor – SS

Max Muncy – 2B

Alex Verdugo – CF

Austin Barnes – C

 

The only thing that could make a frustrating series in Colorado with it’s Peewee’s Playhouse rules is backing that up by having to deal with the National League’s best team for four nights. Which makes it pretty damn tough to get out of this road trip over .500, as that would mean taking three of four in a place where the home team is 25-7. Good times all around.

So where to start with the Dodgers? Maybe Cody Bellinger doing a damn fine Mike Trout impression for two and a half months?That’s what he’s been doing, cutting down his strikeouts while losing none of his power and becoming a plus right fielder even though he’s a first baseman (still convinced he has rohypnol in his house though). There’s Joc Pederesen cutting down his strikeouts and still providing the power he always did. There’s latest lab project Max Muncy providing offensive force from a variety of positions. Or maybe Justin Turner and his dependable dominance. Perhaps we should stop.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s twofold: One, the Cubs are catching them right after Cory Seager had his latest twang and he’s out for a month at least. Second, the Dodgers effectiveness against lefties is still not nearly as strong as the other side, and the Cubs will be tossing two of them. That brings Enrique Hernandez into the lineup and Chris Taylor, and both have been not good. But it’s not much, as both Muncy and Bellinger still hit lefties really well, Turner is still around…and well that’s enough.

Going to the rotation won’t provide any solace, as the Dodgers have five starters with sub-4.00 ERAs. And Kershaw has maybe been their third or fourth best starter as he ages. It’s a wonder how anyone hits Buehler at all given his stuff, and Rich Hill is still here TO SHOW YOU HOW MUCH IT MEANS TO HIM GODDAMMIT HE CARES SO MUCH CAN’T YOU SEE HOW MUCH HE FUCKING CARES GOD HE CARES SO MUCH. Ryu has been the best starter in the NL. So even if they don’t bash your skull in with the bats, they’ll probably smother you with the pitching.

If there’s been anything resembling a bugaboo, it’s the pen. So they’ll be competing with the Cubs for an arm or two in the trade market, using pieces from their system that’s become a goddamn assembly line. Kenley Jensen hasn’t been as automatic, though still very hard to break through on, and the bridge to him has been rickety. Joe Kelly got a contract to solve that even though he’s always sucked. Pedro Baez has been his usual highly effective while making everyone understand Nietzche while doing so. Ross Stripling has been a touch unlucky, while Yimi Garcia has been straight up bad. But generally, they only have to get 3-6 outs per night which just about anyone can manage, even Dave Roberts.

So yeah, four with all that. The Cubs got two of three from the Dodgers in April, before they ascended to whatever plane they’re on now. There are no such things as markers or measuring sticks in a season this long, but there’s more than a small chance the Cubs and Dodgers will renew their blood feud in the NLCS come October. It would be refreshing for us, not the players, if they looked like they belonged on the same field this weekend. It’s always fascinating to see Kyle Hendricks go against a lineup this high-powered, and it’ll be another test for Darvish.

No one said this will be fun.

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