Los Angeles Dodgers (27-25) at Chicago Cubs (35-14)
Tuesday, May 31 - 8:05 PM EST
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
The last time Jake Arrieta faced the Los Angeles Dodgers, he threw his first career no-hitter. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner would have to duplicate that feat Tuesday to top what the Chicago Cubs’ pitchers did to the visiting Dodgers in the opener of the three-game series.
The Cubs need a deep outing from Arrieta after burning through the bullpen Monday. Starter Jason Hammel left after two innings with cramping in his right hamstring before four relievers combined for seven perfect innings to complete a one-hitter in Chicago’s 2-0 victory. The Cubs have won six straight since a season-high three-game losing streak and they’ve allowed a total of five runs over the past four games. Monday’s loss was just the second in eight games for the Dodgers, who have allowed two or fewer runs in six of their last seven contests.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, SportsNet Los Angeles, ABC 7 (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Scott Kazmir (4-3, 4.84 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (9-0, 1.72)
Kazmir has been wildly inconsistent with his command, as he struck out 12 in his last start after walking seven in his previous outing. The 32-year-old was excellent Wednesday against Cincinnati, allowing one run and four hits over six innings in addition to the 12 strikeouts to win his second straight decision. Kazmir is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA in two starts against the Cubs, but he hasn’t faced them since 2010 with the Angels.
The Cubs have won Arrieta’s last 23 starts, tying the major-league record set by Atlanta’s Kris Medlen from 2010-12. Arrieta has won 20 straight decisions, including one Wednesday at St. Louis when he didn’t have his best stuff and allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings. Before his no-hitter at Los Angeles last season, Arrieta had struggled in two previous starts against the Dodgers, losing both in 2013.
1. Cubs 2B/OF Ben Zobrist is 26-for-61 during a career-best 16-game hitting streak and has reached base in 35 consecutive starts.
2. Dodgers 2B Chase Utley is 0-for-10 with three strikeouts versus Arrieta.
3. Chicago RF Jason Heyward is 14-for-40 during a 10-game home hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Dodgers 3