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Dodgers face next test with Cubs in town

Potential playoff preview at Dodger Stadium

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Dodgers took two of three games against the rival Giants, and now complete their homestand with another tough test, facing the best team in baseball, the Cubs, for three games.

While the Dodgers have spent their time after the All-Star break gradually climbing back to the top in the National League West, Chicago has been busy eliminating any doubt who is the NL favorite in 2016.

The Cubs are 28-10 since the break, and have allowed a scant 2.87 runs per contest during that span.

The Cubs have outscored opponents by 78 runs since the All-Star break. The Dodgers have outscored opponents by 69 runs all season.

Chicago starting pitchers since the break are 23-5 with a 2.33 ERA. As a staff! So far in 22 August games, the starters are 15-1 with a 1.88 ERA.

Part of the reason has been the remarkable stability in the Cubs’ rotation, with all five pitches making at least 24 starts, accounting for 122 of their 126 starts in 2016. The Dodgers’ top five pitchers in 2016 ranked by starts — Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling and Julio Uras — have totaled just 89 of 127 starts.

Dodgers starting pitchers have a 5.96 ERA in August.

The Dodgers will get a test facing another pair of left-handed pitchers against the Cubs, starting with Mike Montgomery on Friday. The left-hander was acquired to pitch in relief, but has filled in with John Lackey on the disabled list.

Montgomery, who went to Hart High School in Santa Clarita, allowed one run on just one hit — a home run — in 4⅓ innings at Colorado last Saturday. He also made two starts for Seattle in July before getting traded to Chicago, but 37 of his 40 appearances in 2016 have been in relief.

The Dodgers are 15-16 in games against left-handed starting pitchers in 2016.

Bud Norris makes his second start since coming off the disabled list, lasting just 3⅔ innings while allowing six runs in Cincinnati one week ago. Since joining the Dodgers, Norris has allowed four runs (three earned runs) in 17⅔ innings at Dodger Stadium, with 19 strikeouts and five walks, compared to a 10.34 ERA on the road.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA