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Weekend MLB Series Preview: Chicago Cubs Vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Friday Pitchers: Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.35 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.29 ERA)
Hammel is key player for the Cubs and his return to Chicago this offseason has helped the Cubs be on pace for their best record since in 2008. Hammel has pitched against the Dodgers once in 2015, allowing no runs over 7.2 innings pitched. This outing has been somewhat of an outlier in Hammel’s career as he owns a 2-5 record and an ERA of 4.90 in 15 games – 11 starts, against L.A.
Clayton Kershaw has been a revelation during his career and 2015 is no exception. Even though he has only has 10 wins, partly due to low run support and bullpen collapses, he has amazing stats across the boards. His 222 strikeouts pace the NL and a WHIP of 0.92 is second to only his teammate Zack Greinke. Any time out, it is hard to bet against Clayton.
Probable Pitchers for Saturday’s Game: Jon Lester (8-9, 3.44) vs. Mat Latos (4-9, 4.81 ERA)
A pitcher’s record is not always the best indicator of a pitcher’s success. That case holds true for Lester, who currently has a losing record, but has played much better than it. Brandishing over 9 strikeouts per 9 innings and a solid WHIP of 1.20. Lester should play well in the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.
So fair, since joining the Dodgers at the end of July, Mat Latos has not performed well – to put it lightly. Over three starts, Latos is 0-2 as a Dodger with an ERA of 6.75. Things should even out over the remainder of the season, as his career ERA is 3.48 and his best seasons came while playing in Cincinnati, a park last kind to pitchers than Dodger’s Stadium.
Probable Pitchers for Sunday’s Game: Jake Arrieta (16-6, 2.22 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (9-8, 3.70 ERA)
If it weren’t for a certain pitcher or two on the Dodgers, Arrieta would be garnering some strong support for the NL CY Young Award this season. Outside of a great record and ERA, Arrieta has just over 9 strikeouts per 9 innings, a WHIP less than 1 and a fastball – on a good day - that can reach 100mph.
Wood is another new addition to the Dodgers, coming from the Braves right around the same time as Latos. Wood has seen some more success in his brief stint, going 2-2 with an ERA of 4.34 in 5 starts. Wood is a young pitcher - only in his third season in the Majors - but has experience helping a team reach the playoffs. Wood may not get the best of the talented Arrieta but his performance in September will be important in determining if the Dodgers win their third straight NL West title.
Something to Watch
Both teams have an average offense, with the Dodgers leading the Cubs by a marginal amount in most categories except for runs scored. The Dodgers just lost Yaisel Paig to injury once again and the productive Howie Kendrick is still on the DL. At this moment, the Dodgers lineup is somewhat depleted but still matches up fine against the Cubs. The Cubs have two great hitters in first baseman Anthony Rizzo and NL front runner for Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant. Outside of those two, it’s difficult to pinpoint any other true threat. With the two lineup being what they are, it’ll it up to the two excellent and at times entertaining managers to make some great game time decisions. Joe Maddon has been exception in his first season with the Cubs helping the team turn it around quickly. The Dodgers have had the former Yankee great, Don Mattingly, for six seasons now. Mattingly is looking for his fifth straight season with a winning record.
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