Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.29 ERA), attemping to pick up his 200th strikeout of the season, takes the hill for the Los Angeles Dodgers (70-56) as they square off against Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.35 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (73-53) in the first of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Action begins at 10:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 28 and can be seen on WGN, SNLA and MLBN.
Kershaw pitched 8.0 innings in his most recent start, surrendering one run and striking out 10 in a 3-2 defeat to the Astros. Andre Ethier (.296, 44 Rs, 12 HRs, 39 RBIs, 2 SBs) continued his strong play yesterday, going 3 for 3. Hammel went 6.1 innings, surrendering two runs, striking out eight and walking one in a 9-3 win over the Braves in his last outing. Anthony Rizzo (.287, 72 Rs, 25 HRs, 77 RBIs, 15 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday with one run.
This one isn't expected to be close when Los Angeles, a big -200 favorite, takes on Chicago. The matchup has an estimated Over/Under (O/U) of six runs. The Dodgers have an overall money line of -1,263 and a record as the favorite of 63-50. The Dodgers are one of the best in the MLB in terms of home runs with 153. Turning to the pitchers, the Dodgers are the fourth-best team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.20 so far this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Dodgers, who rank second in the NL in strikeouts per game with 8.5.
In games where it is the underdog, Chicago has a 20-22 record and an overall money line of +1,062. They have been on a bit of a dry streak over their last 10 games. They managed a 0-2 record when playing as the underdog. Offensively, the Cubs have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 4.2 runs per game by averaging 5.9 during that stretch. The Cubs allow 3.8 runs per game, but have damaged those numbers in the past 10 games, allowing 5.2 runs per game during that span. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Cubs are one of the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.20 for the season. The Cubs have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.7 strikeouts per game.
The Dodgers have a 58-42 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Hammel takes the mound. Kershaw (LHP) will be on the hill against the Cubs, who have a 15-11 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - LAD, O/U - Over
Los Angeles earned its 18th shutout of the season in its last game. Chicago has been shut out nine times this season.
Having scored one run in their last game, the Dodgers are going to have to up their game if they want to win this matchup. The Cubs have a 28-1 record in games where opponents scored that many runs or fewer.
It looks like the Dodgers have a slight leg up on the Cubs, as the Dodgers have won their last three games while the Cubs have lost their last two.
When they outhit their opponents, the Dodgers are 52-11. The Cubs have a 46-8 record when outhitting opponents.
Both falling in the bottom half of the league based on total runs this season, Los Angeles ranks 17th with 518 runs and Chicago is 16th with 522.
Los Angeles and Chicago both rank in the top five of the league in walks. Los Angeles sits at third with 431 this season and Chicago ranks second with 434.
When the Dodgers hit at least one home run, they are 54-34, well-matched with the Cubs who are 49-22 when hitting one or more homers.