Cubs @ Dodgers June 13, 2019: Dodgers look to get back on track with Kershaw on the mound

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers (45-23) left Anaheim with two more games in the loss column then they arrived there with. It’s always annoying to lose to the Angels, but the Dodgers still have the best record in the NL. After a day off and a night of dancing to Bruno Mars, the Cubs (37-29) come to town for a four-game series to kick off a 11-game homestand for the Dodgers. The Cubbies took two of three from the Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Chicago back in late April.

Cubs
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
LF
Schwarber
LF
Hernandez
RF
Bryant
3B
Turner
1B
Rizzo
1B
Freese
SS
Baez
RF
Bellinger
C
Contreras
SS
Taylor
CF
Almora
2B
Muncy
2B
Russell CF Verdugo
P
Lester (L)
C
Barnes
3B
Bote
P
Kershaw (L)

Although the Dodgers dropped both games in Orange County, the biggest loss was of shortstop Corey Seager. Seager injured his hamstring while running the bases in the ninth inning Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. Seager’s hamstring strain comes at the most inopportune time. He’s been red hot at the plate, slashing .409/.447/.705/1.151 with seven doubles and two home runs in the last two weeks. 

Today the Dodgers placed Seager on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain and activated Matt Beaty from the IL. They’ll have to go on without Seager for now. He’ll be out at least a month, but there’s no specific timetable for his return.

Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor will likely play shortstop while Seager’s out. Taylor gets the start at short tonight, batting behind Bellinger. I don’t expect Bellinger to see many good pitches from Jon Lester.

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Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 3.00 ERA, 3.39 FIP) was tagged with a loss in his last start in San Francisco, but it wasn’t all because of his pitching. Oracle Park’s death zone of a bullpen tripped Taylor who dropped a foul ball in the sixth inning. The Giants scored in typical fashion with a walk, a wild pitch, and a couple of singles to capture the lead.

That was all the Giants needed to edge the Dodgers out, but Kershaw didn’t give up another run thereafter and overall pitched seven solid innings. Of course all six Giants hits were singles. It was the first game the Dodgers lost this season in a Kershaw start.

Overall, against the Cubs, Kershaw’s 5-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 1.159 WHIP in 10 career starts. He’ll need to try to keep the ball in the park and pitch carefully to Anthony Rizzo and Carlos Gonzalez who both have hit three home runs off Kersh. Wilson Contreras is also hitting .462 with two homers against him. Kershaw’s 1.1 HR/9 is still high compared to his career average (0.6), but he hasn’t allowed a long ball since May 27 (14 innings). 

The Cubs have four more home runs on the year (108) than the Dodgers (104). 

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The Cubs send fellow veteran left-hander Lester (5-4, 3.56 ERA, 3.91 FIP) to the mound for the series opener. He’s struggled in his five road starts this season (4.97 ERA, 1.345 WHIP), but he held the Dodgers to one run on four hits in five innings with five strikeouts on April 25 at Wrigley Field.

Lester’s 4-4 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.074 WHIP in 10 career starts against the Dodgers. At Dodger Stadium, he’s 2-2 with a 4.55 ERA and 1.229 WHIP in five starts. David Freese has had the most success vs. Lester in his career and is 11-for-38 (.289) against him. Freese is third in Dave Roberts‘ batting order for the series opener, one of three right-handers at the top of the order, and will start at first base. Cody Bellinger is 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles and a home run against the lefty. Lester hasn’t allowed a home run to a left-handed batter this season.

The Cubs are currently 1/2 game back of the Brewers in the NL Central. They’re coming off a tense season finale vs. the Rockies in which four players, including Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant, were hit by pitches. 

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The Dodgers signed an old friend yesterday.

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I also have another couple of very important notes. Tonight is game No. 69 for the Dodgers as well as Joe Kelly bobblehead night. Nice?

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.