Game Sixty-Eight: Cubs (37-30) vs. Dodgers (39-31)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV Ch. 9 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 179, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.68/1.30/4.06) vs. Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 3.29/1.05/2.58)
Weather permitting … The Cubs return to Wrigley for a quick and extremely challenging four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs finished the trip with a 3-2 record. And the next 10 games will give a good indication of where the team is as July begins. The Cubs not only take on the Dodgers but will have to deal with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the first two games. Following Thursday’s game, the Cubs fly to St. Louis and will take on the Cardinals for three games. After a much-needed day off next Monday, the Cubs open a three-game series Tuesday at Citi Field with the Mets.
The Cubs enter play tonight seven games back of the Cardinals in the division, a game behind the Pirates for second in the NL Central and leading the Senior Circuit for the second Wild Card spot. The Dodgers beat the Giants on Sunday night and have a game and a half lead on San Francisco. The Dodgers hoped to get to Chicago before day break after the late night flight.
After tonight’s matchup of Tsuyoshi Wada and Clayton Kershaw, Jason Hammel and Zack Greinke, who loves pitching at Wrigley Field, are on the schedule for Tuesday. Kyle Hendricks and Mike Bolsinger square off Wednesday night. And the series is scheduled to wrap up Thursday afternoon with Jon Lester with Carlos Frias.
The Cubs were 3-4 last year in the seven games with the Dodgers. And this series is just the beginning of what should be a challenging stretch of games for the Cubs’ offense.
Tonight all starts with Tsuyoshi Wada …
Tsuyoshi Wada, or B.A. Wada, is coming off his best outing in the big leagues. Wada pounded the strike zone after his teammates gave him some runs to work with and when he wasn’t nibbling he was pretty good. Wada lasted seven innings while scattering four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Wada doesn’t figure to get the same kind of run support tonight. It will be interesting to see how he performs without a big lead and against a much better team.
Wada is 1-1 in his last three starts with a 5.27 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP. And he makes his fourth start of the year at Wrigley tonight in need of another good start.
In three home starts this season, Wada has three no decisions with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Teams have hit more than 100 points less against Wada at Wrigley than on the road. Wada has faced three pretty good teams at Wrigley (Nationals, Royals, Reds) and he has put up serviceable numbers (five runs on 10 hits with six walks, two home runs and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings).
Tsuyoshi Wada faced the Dodgers twice last season, and he put his team in position to win both games. Wada did not figure into the outcome of either game. In those two starts, he allowed three runs on 11 hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings (2.53 ERA, 1.31 WHIP).
Dodgers Career Numbers against Tsuyoshi Wada
- Scott Van Slyke: 2-for-5 with one double
- Justin Turner: 1-for-3
- A.J. Ellis: 0-for-2
- Adrian Gonzalez: 1-for-2
- Yasiel Puig: 1-for-2
Clayton Kershaw lost his last start against the Rangers, one in which he served up a mammoth home run to Joey Gallo. Kershaw gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts in six innings. Kershaw is 2-1 in his last four starts with a 1.95 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP after a rough May. Kershaw raised concerns last month when he posted a 2-1 record in five starts with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
For as good as Kershaw has been this season, he has struggled on the road. In seven starts outside of Dodger Stadium, Kershaw is 1-2 with a 4.27 ERA and 1.21 WHIP (23 runs, 22 earned, on 42 hits with 14 walks and 52 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings).
Tonight is Kershaw’s seventh career start against the Cubs. Kershaw is 4-2 in six starts with a 2.09 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP (11 runs, nine earned, on 36 hits with 10 walks and 45 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings). Last year, Kershaw beat the Cubs the only time he faced them (Sept. 19) after allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in five innings. At Wrigley, Clayton Kershaw is 1-1 in two starts with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Clayton Kershaw
- Dexter Fowler: 16-for-38 with two doubles, one triple and four walks
- Chris Denorfia: 9-for-33 with two doubles, three home runs and five walks
- Miguel Montero: 6-for-29 with three doubles
- Starlin Castro: 2-for-17
- Jonathan Herrera: 2-for-12 with one double and one walk
- David Ross: 2-for-11 with one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 1-for-7
- Anthony Rizzo: 1-for-5 with one double
- Travis Wood: 1-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …