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
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.