Cubs-Dodgers Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a very respectable home record, but

their play there recently hasn’t reflected it.

A series against the Chicago Cubs could change that.

The Dodgers will try to continue their success at home against

the NL Central when they open a four-game series with the Cubs on

Thursday night.

Los Angeles (46-38) is 25-17 at home despite dropping seven of

nine there after losing two of three to Florida this week. The

Dodgers were shut down by Josh Johnson in a 4-0 loss Wednesday.

Rafael Furcal went 0 for 4, snapping a 10-game hitting streak

during which he was hitting .512 with 13 RBIs and three homers.

While the team has struggled in Los Angeles recently, it’s been

impressive against the Central. The Dodgers, three games behind NL

West-leading San Diego, are 9-3 at home against teams from the

Central, winning six straight by a combined score of 37-15.

The Cubs, who won two of three from Los Angeles at Wrigley Field

in May, have lost seven of their last 11 at Chavez Ravine. They

have batted .229 while averaging 2.7 runs during that stretch.

Chicago (38-47), however, begins this series with momentum after

completing a sweep of struggling Arizona with an 8-3 win


Aramis Ramirez, who had a pair of two-run homers Tuesday, hit a

three-run shot in the ninth against the NL West’s worst team. He

entered his most recent series batting .177 but was 5 for 13 over

the three games.

The Cubs scored 23 runs in the three games after totaling 12

during a 2-5 homestand.

“We’re starting to score a few runs,” manager Lou Piniella said.

“It should give us some momentum and some confidence. I like a lot

of things I saw in this series.”

While Chicago found life at the plate, it couldn’t manage much

earlier this season against Clayton Kershaw (8-4, 3.02 ERA), who

will take the mound for the Dodgers on Thursday. The left-hander

allowed one unearned run and four hits in six innings of a 3-0 loss

to the Cubs on May 25.

Kershaw pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings in a 14-1 win over

Arizona on Saturday. He threw 105 pitches, striking out eight while

giving up four hits.

“It was really my fault for throwing too many pitches,” he told

the Dodgers’ official website. “I’ve got to minimize my pitches

early to stay in there in this type of game.”

Kershaw has won his last three decisions at home and has a 2.25

ERA over his last five starts there.

He’ll be opposed by Randy Wells (4-6, 4.67), who took a

no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 3-1 win over Cincinnati on


The right-hander was pulled after 7 2-3 innings, having allowed

one run and five hits.

“Obviously, I had pretty good results,” Wells said. “Everything

was kind of clicking for me.”

Wells is 0-2 with a 1.32 ERA against the Dodgers, yielding two

earned runs over 13 2-3 innings. The Cubs have scored one run in

each of those two games.

Chicago could be without left fielder Alfonso Soriano after he

left Wednesday’s game in the bottom of the fifth after being hit by

a pitch on the left elbow in the top half. He is 2 for 23 with

eight strikeouts in his last seven games against the Dodgers.