Los Angeles Dodgers (88-66) at Chicago Cubs (68-86)
Saturday, September 20 - 1:05 PM EST
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
For the better part of the last four years, few teams have felt more comfortable in the “friendly confines” of Chicago’s Wrigley Field than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hoping to increase their 3 1/2-game lead in the National League West, the Dodgers vie for their seventh straight win in Wrigley on Saturday when they continue a four-game set against the Cubs. Los Angeles improved to a league-best 48-31 on the road following Friday’s 14-5 rout – the team’s ninth win in its last 12 games in Chicago.
The Dodgers have seemingly righted the ship after a wild seven-game stretch in which they scored at least eight runs three times and surrendered at least nine in three other contests. Chicago can still guarantee itself of its first winning record at home since 2009 with victories in three of its final five contests, but could be short of a couple of key players on Saturday. The Cubs have chosen to rest first baseman Anthony Rizzo every other day – he played Friday – since his return from a back injury on Monday and could be without catcher Welington Castillo, who left Friday’s game after the first inning with a left rib contusion.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Roberto Hernandez (8-11, 4.06 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Felix Doubront (4-5, 5.00)
After beginning his Dodgers’ career with three quality starts in his first four outings, Hernandez failed to make it through the fifth inning for the third straight time in Monday’s 11-3 win over Colorado. The 2010 All-Star yielded two runs on six hits over 3 2/3 innings in the outing and six of the 16 hits he has allowed over his rough stretch have been home runs. Hernandez split a pair of starts against the Cubs earlier this season as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies despite holding Chicago hitters to a .162 average.
Doubront has flourished in three turns through the rotation since his team debut on Aug. 30, the latest of which came last Saturday when he allowed four hits over six scoreless frames in a 6-4 victory over Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old Venezuelan is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in three turns since his arrival from Boston at the trade deadline, permitting two runs or fewer in each outing. Doubront won his only career start against the Dodgers, allowing five runs (three earned) in his big-league debut in June 2010.
1. Los Angeles RF Yasiel Puig is 11-for-17 with two home runs and eight RBIs in five games at Wrigley and 20-for-38 in 11 career contests versus the Cubs.
2. Dodgers C A.J. Ellis, who went deep twice on Friday, has recorded both of his multi-homer games against Chicago.
3. Los Angeles 2B Dee Gordon has posted seven consecutive two-hit games and needs one more stolen base to tie Juan Pierre (64 in 2007) for the fourth-best single-season mark in team history.
PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Dodgers 4