The Chicago Cubs go for a second straight win when they face the host Los Angeles Dodgers in the first of a four-game weekend series on Thursday night. The series opener is set for a 10:10 p.m. ET first pitch at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Cubs have won two of three, including a 7-1 rout of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Chicago enters Thursday’s action in second place in the National League Central, a half-game behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers and four games up on the third-place Cincinnati Reds.
The Dodgers are coming off a three-game sweep by the San Diego Padres, dropping them to 44-30. Los Angeles is in second place in the NL West, four games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants and a half-game ahead of the third-place Padres.
The MLB odds for this game have the Dodgers at -260, while the Cubs are listed at +210. The over/under for the contest has been set at 8½ runs.
The Cubs went 3-4 on their last West Coast trip earlier this month and enter Thursday’s game with a 15-20 record on the road. That’s compared to a 26-13 mark at home, showing how much Chicago prefers Wrigley Field.
Right-hander Zach Davies will get the start for the opener, bringing a 4-4 record and 4.66 ERA to the mound. Davies has started 15 games, striking out 45 and walking 36 in 73.1 innings.
The 28-year-old is coming off a loss to Miami on Friday, going six innings and allowing eight runs on seven hits, including two home runs. That snapped a personal two-game win streak for Davies, who had back-to-back scoreless outings against St. Louis and San Diego of at least six innings each.
Shortstop Javier Baez has been great for the Cubs but he’s also been a problem. He was benched on Monday night for losing track of how many outs there were when he was on the bases, and his 97 strikeouts are the most in baseball.
“I never want to be out of the lineup,” Baez said about manager David Ross’ decision in Monday’s loss. “I respect his decision. He told me why it happened, and I said, ‘OK, it’s your decision.'”
But Baez brings a lot to the table as well, leading the Cubs with 16 home runs and 45 RBIs. He’s batting .226 with 34 runs scored.
Third baseman Kris Bryant had a home run in Tuesday’s win over Cleveland. He leads Chicago with a .278 batting average while hitting 14 home runs and driving in 40 runs. He’s also scored a team-best 43 times.
Looking to Bounce Back
A three-game sweep vs the surging Padres has the Dodgers on the edge of falling a spot in the NL West standings. Los Angeles is 23-12 at home so it is hoping to turn things around at Dodger Stadium.
Right-hander Walker Buehler brings a 7-0 record to his start on Thursday night. Buehler has a 2.38 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 19 walks in 90.2 innings.
Buehler has won all four of his starts in June, recording a 1.71 ERA in that span. His last start was a win over Arizona on Saturday in which he went 7.1 innings and allowed two runs on two hits, striking out 11 and walking two.
Outfielder Cody Bellinger was in the lineup on Wednesday night for the first time since coming off the injured list for a left calf contusion. Bellinger went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored, adding another potential big bat to the lineup.
The Dodgers have been led by third baseman Justin Turner, who has a .283 batting average and upped his RBI total to 39 with a run-scoring single on Wednesday night. Turner has 12 doubles, 12 home runs, and has scored 43 times.
First baseman Max Muncy had two doubles on Wednesday night, his first hits since a 10-day stint on the injured list with a right oblique muscle strain. He leads the Dodgers with 14 home runs while driving in 33 and scoring 42 runs.
Both of these teams have a lot of offensive potential, though neither has been particularly consistent of late. The Cubs swept the three-game series between the two in early May, though two of the games were one-run, extra-inning affairs.
The top pitchers for each team — Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks and the Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer — will miss this series. Los Angeles has the edge on the mound with Buehler, Julio Urias (9-3), and Clayton Kershaw (8-7) all scheduled to make starts.
The MLB lines for this one have the Dodgers at -265 while the Cubs are listed at +205.
Dodgers Take Opener
Buehler has been fantastic of late and the Dodgers could use a great performance from him to get back on the winning track. Chicago has just been inconsistent at the plate and on the mound in the last week or so, and that will continue in Los Angeles.
When doing your MLB betting odds, take the Dodgers to earn a win at home on Thursday.