The last time the Padres swept a series against the Dodgers at Petco Park I was a freshman in high school. Now, I’m living in an apartment with my girlfriend and have a full-time job. A lot has happened since then.
After the historic sweep, the Dodgers find themselves four games back of first place behind the Giants and only half a game in front of the Padres. This division race is going to be a damn battle, and I am very excited for it.
After dropping three straight, the Dodgers will be back at Dodger Stadium. LA is 11 games above .500 at home compared to three games above .500 while on the road. After a forgettable series in San Diego, returning to Dodger Stadium is the best thing for them.
They’ll welcome the Chicago Cubs to town for a pretty big four-game series. Speaking of sweeps, the Cubs swept the Dodgers last month at Wrigley Field. That came during the 5-15 stretch LA was going through. This series will be huge for both teams, as the Dodgers and Cubs will both look to inch their way towards first place.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, LA is four games behind San Francisco. The Giants will play the Athletics for three this weekend, so with some help from Oakland and a few Dodgers victories, LA can climb right back into it. Meanwhile, the Cubs are only half a game behind the Brewers for first place in the NL Central.
Chicago enters this series as one of the worst hitting teams in the National League. Their .226 team average is tied for the second worst in the NL. They strike out in 26 percent of their at bats, the third worst in the NL. They’re pretty middle of the pack for everything else, except in one key category.... something that can kill the Dodgers this series. Home runs.
Chicago is third in the NL with 100 home runs. Five different players on the team have at least 10 of them. If the Dodgers’ pitching can limit the long ball this weekend, they’ll have a strong chance to win most of the games. But with the weather heating up here in LA, watch out for a lot of them.
Switching over to Chicago’s starting pitching, they are near the bottom as well. Their starters ERA is the fourth worst (4.63) in the NL and their WHIP (1.37) is the third worst. The Cubs’ 311 strikeouts from their rotation is the least amount in the NL.
Although their rotation has been pretty bad, it’s been their bullpen that has kept them in so many games. The Cubs’ bullpen leads the NL in ERA at 2.63. They also have 55 holds, which lead the Giants by six. Their relievers also strike out 29 percent of hitters they face, the best mark in the NL. To cap it off, opponents are batting .186 against the bullpen, the best in the NL as well.
So, hopefully the Dodgers can get to the starting pitching, because things get tough once you get to the bullpen.
This will be an exciting series, as it’s always fun when the Cubs come to town, especially for four games. This will be a huge series for both teams and I expect a playoff atmosphere at Dodger Stadium all weekend.
How many games do you think the Dodgers will win this series?
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