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Dodgers face the Cubs as they return home

MLB: Chicago Cubs- Workouts Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers open a 10-game homestand Monday when they welcome the Cubs to town for a four-game series. By Thursday the two teams will have played seven games over an 11-day stretch and won’t meet again in 2018 unless it’s in the postseason.

Chicago took two of three from the Dodgers last week at Wrigley Field when the teams played three games within about 30 hours. There isn’t much to say about the clubs that wasn’t said in the last series, except to say they had polar opposite experiences this past weekend.

While the Dodgers were putting a hurt on the Mets’ pitching staff, the Cubs were busy being swept by the Reds for the first time in a four-game series since 1983. Chicago’s season has been full of ups and downs just like last week as manager Joe Maddon discussed with Media Saturday.

“We just beat the Dodgers two out of three, and we’re the best team since the ’27 Yankees,” Maddon said. “Cincinnati beats you up for three days, and all of a sudden it’s doom and gloom. I cannot live my life that way.”

After hitting 10 more homers – seven(!) on Sunday – during the trip to New York, the Dodgers lead the National League in homers (102) and are chasing down the franchise record they set last year.

Pitching matchups

The Cubs will give the Dodgers a new look Monday when they send Duane Underwood Jr. out for his major league debut.

Monday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, ESPN)

Underwood is making his debut in his seventh season since being drafted in the second round back in 2012. This year is the first above Double-A for the 23-year-old and the right-hander has a 3-7 record with a 4.27 ERA.

Kenta Maeda (4-4, 3.84) will make his second start against the Cubs in less than a week. The first didn’t go extraordinarily well, with the right-hander getting an early hook in the fourth. Maeda allowed five hits and three runs while walking five in his three and two-thirds innings.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, ESPN out-of-market only)

Ross Stripling (6-2, 1.99) and Jon Lester (9-2, 2.10) will meet in a rematch of last Wednesday’s matinee. The Cubs got the better end of the deal in a 4-0 shutout.

Lester tossed seven scoreless despite hard contact all day from the Dodger lineup, while his teammates hung three on Stripling. It was the first time since April 30 that Striping allowed more than two runs and just the second time all year.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, ESPN)

Alex Wood (3-5, 4.13) hasn’t been the dominant pitcher he was last season, but he has been charged with two or less runs in seven of his nine starts since the start of May.

The two other starts account for 11 of the 24 runs (21 earned) the lefty has given up in those nine starts.

The Cubs will hand the ball to Kyle Hendricks (5-7, 3.73) Wednesday as he looks to limit home runs. The right-hander has allowed 14 in 15 starts this season. Hendricks has allowed three or more runs eight times and the Cubs have lost 10 of the 15.

Thursday, 12:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network out-of-market only)

With the Cubs traveling to Minnesota for Friday, the Thursday game will be an early afternoon affair. At the moment it looks like a battle of two lefties.

Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.94), coming off a three-inning start in New York Saturday, will get make his second consecutive start since May 1.

Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.26) has been just as inconsistent as the Cubs this season, giving up four runs or more in six of his 15 starts, while giving up 10 runs in the other nine starts combined.

The 29-year-old has walked 37 batters in 80 13 innings, nearly half the total of his 76 strikeouts.