LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers try for the weekend sweep of the Cubs on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium, and Alex Wood tries to end a start without handing a ball to Don Mattingly.
The left-hander has been okay so far with his new team, with a 4.34 ERA and 4.12 FIP, but in four of his five starts he has been pulled mid-inning after a sudden fade. If his Dodgers debut was a test of sorts, when Wood was allowed to throw 109 pitches and pitch into the seventh, perhaps in Mattingly's eyes Wood failed, leaving with the bases loaded, all three runs scoring on a grand slam allowed by Joel Peralta in relief.
After throwing 91 pitches in five innings in his second start, Wood has been pulled mid-inning with just 82, 82 and 88 pitches in his last three starts.
Not that getting pulled wasn't warranted. Wood as a Dodger in the first five innings of his starts has a 2.16 ERA, allowing six runs on 19 hits in 25 innings, with 10 walks and 20 strikeouts.
After the fifth inning, Wood has allowed eight runs on eight hits in four innings, with four walks and one strikeout.
The Cubs are 15-13 in games started by left-handed starting pitchers this year, though as an offense against southpaws has been middle of the pack, hitting .234/.316/.363 against them, 10th in the National League in OPS and wOBA (.299).
The Dodgers offense will have to try and score against Jake Arrieta, who has allowed no unearned runs in four of his five August starts. His 0.54 in August, buoyed by 31 strikeouts and nine walks in 33⅓ innings, is second in the majors this month to Matt Harvey (0.33).
Arrieta is 5-0 in August, and 9-1 with a 1.30 ERA since the beginning of July, and is tied for the National League lead this season with 16 wins. But the 29-year-old has been performing well almost from his first day in Chicago, acquired by the Cubs in July 2013.
Since the beginning of the 2014 season, among all major league pitchers with at least 300 innings, only three have an ERA+ of 160 or above — Clayton Kershaw (181), Zack Greinke (165) and Arrieta (162).
If the Dodgers do manage to get runners on base, perhaps they can run on him like they did on Jon Lester on Saturday. Arrieta has allowed 21 steals in 27 attempts this season, including 9-for-10 in his last eight starts.
The Dodgers have stolen 14 bases in 18 attempts in August, including tying a season high with four steals on Saturday. Prior to August, the Dodgers hadn't stolen more than seven bases in any month, and had just 21 steals in 45 attempts.
No matter what happens after the game, the Cubs will fly home wearing pajamas, per Carrie Muskat of MLB.com:
The players were notified that this West Coast trip is the "onesies" trip, which means they have to wear pajamas on the flight back Sunday night. It’s part of manager Joe Maddon’s attitude, which he says he learned growing up in Pennsylvania to "have a party regardless of whether you win or lose."
Chicago so far has one win on its "onesies" trip through San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Dodgers will try to keep it that way.
Time: 5:08 p.m. PT