Game Eighty-Six: Cubs (38-47) vs. Dodgers (46-38)
Game Time – 9:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Randy Wells (6-7, 3.54/1.42) vs. Clayton Kershaw (8-4, 3.02/1.23)
Can the Chicago Cubs win four games in a row? The last time Lou’s crew posted four consecutive wins was May 16 – May 19 (Pirates, two against the Rockies and the opener in Philly). The Cubs have won four in a row twice this season … their high watermark of the 2010 campaign.
The Cubs will face a very good Dodgers team, without Manny Ramirez, to finish out the first half. The Cubs took two of three from L.A. at Wrigley back in May but the Dodgers were without Andre Ethier during that three-game set. The Cubs offense will have their hands full once again as well.
After Clayton Kershaw, Joe Torre will send Chad Billingsley to the hill Friday, John Ely on Saturday and Vicente Padilla will close out the series on Sunday … Lou Piniella will counter with Ted Lilly, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.
Lou’s lineup tinkering should be in full effect tonight … but he must resist using Xavier Nady in right field. Look for Jeff Baker at second, Koyie Hill behind the plate and hopefully Tyler Colvin in right field. Piniella has been using Colvin as his leadoff hitter against southpaws in recent weeks. Alfonso Soriano’s elbow could impact Piniella’s decision as well. But if Soriano cannot go, it might be worth a little offense to insert Kosuke Fukudome in right versus the southpaw to keep the Dodgers from running on Xavier Nady.
Tonight it all begins with Randy Wells … Randy Wells is coming off his best start of the season. Wells pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just one run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings to the Reds. Wells walked one and struck out five. Wells found a groove early, mixed his pitches and most importantly threw strikes. Wells appeared confident as well … much like the rookie that burst onto the scene a year ago.
Wells’ struggles in the first inning have been well documented and it is important for him to get off to a good start tonight.
Wells is 2-3 in eight road starts this season with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.
Randy Wells did not face the Dodgers during the series at Wrigley in May and is 0-2 in two career starts against Los Angeles. Wells was very successful versus the Dodgers despite the two losses … four runs, two earned, on 15 hits in 13 2/3 innings with three walks and 10 strikeouts (1.32 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP). Tonight will be Wells’ second career start at Dodger Stadium (0-1 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, two runs, both unearned, on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings)
Dodgers Career Numbers against Randy Wells
- Garrett Anderson – 1-for-6 with a home run
- Ronnie Belliard – 0-for-3
- Casey Blake – 0-for-5
- Jamey Carroll – 2-for-2 with a triple
- Andre Ethier – 2-for-6 with a double
- Rafael Furcal – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Matt Kemp – 3-for-7 with a double
- James Loney – 3-for-6
- Russell Martin – 1-for-3
The Cubs will face Clayton Kershaw for the second time this season. Lou’s crew beat Kershaw back on May 25 at Wrigley 3-0. The Cubs managed only one unearned run on four hits against Kershaw in six innings … but the key was they made him work, something the Cubs’ offense has quit doing.
One of the best young southpaws in the game is coming off a win against the Diamondbacks. Kershaw threw 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed just four hits. Kershaw typically throws a lot of strikes, which runs up his pitch count. In 104 1/3 innings this season, Kershaw has struck out 116 batters and walked 50.
Kershaw is 4-2 in nine starts at Dodger Stadium this season with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Tonight will be Kershaw’s second career start versus the Cubs … 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Clayton Kershaw
- Jeff Baker – 4-for-10 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Marlon Byrd – 2-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-2 with a double and a walk
- Xavier Nady – 0-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-2
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …