The Los Angeles Dodgers believe they have one of the best
pitching staffs in baseball, and it’s difficult to argue with Zack
Greinke and Clayton Kershaw forming an imposing combo at the top of
Greinke gets the nod Monday night as he looks to stay hot
against the visiting Chicago Cubs, who hope to avoid losing an
eighth consecutive meeting.
The Dodgers’ 3.14 rotation ERA is the best in baseball, as
Greinke (12-3, 2.91 ERA) and Kershaw (major league-best 1.72 ERA)
have continued to shine.
Greinke has been stellar during his four-start winning streak,
posting a 0.96 ERA. He gave up one run and struck out seven in
eight innings of Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Miami.
“I’ve been executing better and I’ve been throwing harder with a
better changeup than at any time in my career,” Greinke said.
The right-hander has helped Dodgers starters post a 2.13 ERA
over the last eight contests.
“It’s by far the deepest starting staff,” pitching coach Rick
Honeycutt told the team’s official website after Greinke’s last
start. “At the top end, we’ve never had (this good of a) one-two
Greinke has yet to face the Cubs as a member of the Dodgers, but
he gave up two hits and struck out 12 in seven innings of an 8-0
win while pitching for Milwaukee on June 6, 2012.
Kershaw will start Tuesday, and Chicago manager Dale Sveum
realizes the challenges his club is facing in this three-game
“They’re on a roll that baseball hasn’t seen in many, many
years,” Sveum said. “When you have Greinke, Kershaw going two out
of five days, you’re talking about two guys who can win Cy Youngs
in any given year or throw a no-hitter on any given day.
“That’s not something you want to think about until you arrive
at Dodger Stadium.”
Los Angeles (76-54) leads the NL West by 9 1/2 games over
Arizona and has won seven straight against the Cubs – including a
four-game sweep at Wrigley Field from Aug. 1-4 – but it is coming
off an 8-1 loss to Boston on Sunday.
Adrian Gonzalez homered for the Dodgers, who lost the final two
of the three-game set to drop their first series since June 14-16
“You never want to lose two games in a row,” outfielder Carl
Crawford said. “We’ve just got to get back to doing what we do, put
these two games behind us real quick and get back to our winning
Chicago (55-75) has lost five of six after falling 3-2 in 15
innings at San Diego on Sunday. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the
13th before allowing the tying runs to score and giving up an RBI
single two innings later.
They’ll look to end their skid versus the Dodgers with help from
Jake Arrieta, who is hoping to rebound from his first tough outing
since arriving in Chicago.
Arrieta (1-0, 3.71) gave up six runs and walked four in four
innings of Wednesday’s 11-6 loss to Washington. He allowed one run
in 13 innings over his first two outings after being acquired from
The right-hander faced the Dodgers while with the Orioles on
April 21, giving up two hits, five walks and five runs in four
innings of a 7-4 loss.
Rookie Yasiel Puig reached base in 10 of his 14 plate
appearances against the Cubs earlier this month, including a homer
and a double.