If history is any indicator, the Cubs aren’t necessarily looking forward to this trip out west. Since the combined no-hitter started by Zack Davies on June 24th of last year, the Cubs are 0-6 against the Dodgers with a average victory margin of 4.5 runs.
Earlier in the year, the Dodgers traveled to Wrigley Field and unceremoniously swept the Cubs with respective 7-0, 6-2, and 7-1 wins. The Cubbies have fared particularly bad against the NL West with a 7-14 record in those games while the Dodgers have an 11-5 campaign against NL Central opponents.
What both of these teams have in common is their inability to win games that go to extra innings. It’s been a well-documented problem for the Dodgers going further back than just last season, going 1-5 in those games in 2022, while the Cubs have won three out of 11 in such affairs.
The Cubs will come to LA without their veteran starter, Kyle Hendricks, who was scheduled to pitch on Thursday. While the Dodgers recently suffered the loss of Chris Taylor, also going to the IL with a stress fracture on his right foot.
However, on a more positive note, Seiya Suzuki was recently activated following a stint on the injured list, and it looks like the Cubs right-fielder hasn’t skipped a beat, hitting an inside-the-park home run on Monday to break a tie in the top of the ninth inning, off Josh Hader.
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Tony Gonsolin vs Mark Leiter Jr.
Tony Gonsolin takes the hill in search of his league-leading eleventh win, and maintenance of his masterful 1.54 ERA. On the visiting side, the Cubs will send out Mark Leiter Jr. who made a comeback to the majors after having last pitched in 2018, in the big leagues.
Gonsolin faces the Cubs for the first time this season. The Dodgers’ righty has only one start in his career against the Cubs, he went four innings allowing only one hit and earned run against them in the regular season last year.
Leiter Jr. also has one start in his career facing the Dodgers, it was a quality start that came in September of 2017. The Dodgers won that game 5-4 against the Philadelphia Phillies with the help of a couple of solo homers from Curtis Granderson and Andre Ethier.
Friday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Probables: Tyler Anderson vs Keegan Thompson
Anderson much like the rest of the Dodgers rotation will be very appreciative of Ryan Pepiot’s efforts on Tuesday against Colorado. That start allowed the Dodgers to give each rotation member an extra day of rest in this run of play with no off-days.
Anderson will be pushing 100 innings by the all-star break, as he’s currently at 84⅓, the second-highest mark on the team behind Julio Urías, and Anderson still has a couple more starts left including this one.
The winning pitcher of that middle game in Wrigley earlier in the year, Anderson goes up against Keegan Thompson, who also hasn’t faced the Dodgers this year, a common theme in this series. The track record and name recognition may not be the best for the Cubs’ starters in this series, but they’ll look to explore a lack of familiarity with their stuff on the Dodgers’ end.
Saturday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)
Probables: Clayton Kershaw vs Marcus Stroman
A statement that can be made about any National League team at this point, Kershaw has ample experience against the Cubs, and although Wrigley Field hasn’t been his favorite stadium, the future hall of fame has fared much better against the Cubs in Dodger Stadium and will look to improve on that 2.75 ERA against the Cubs in Saturday’s game.
The big pitching acquisition of the Cubs’ 2022 offseason, Marcus Stroman, will look to find his footing in a season derailed by injuries in which he has an ERA over five in nine starts. Stroman has a 2.77 ERA in his previous two outings versus the Dodgers.
There’s been a big narrative surrounding the fact that Will Smith, arguably the best catcher in baseball doesn’t have an all-star when in all honesty he only really had one shot, last year. Dodgers fans will get to see the reason why Smith won’t be behind the plate for the NL in this year’s all-star game. Willson Contreras is having a remarkable campaign with a 147 OPS+ in his walk year, he’s likely to play all four of these games splitting time between catcher and DH.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)
Probables: Julio Urías vs Drew Smyly
A couple of former highly-touted lefty prospects go toe to toe for the finale of this series. Julio Urías hopes to maintain his record above .500, as the former 20 game-winner continues to experience the other end of the spectrum when it comes to run support.
Drew Smyly to a completely different degree, has also pitched better than his 2-5 record would indicate. The former Rays' top prospect has a 3.80 ERA in 42⅔ innings pitched and will take a second crack at a win against the Dodgers in 2022, Smyly gave up a couple of earned runs over four and a third earlier in the year against the Dodgers.