The Los Angeles Dodgers had never lost both games when Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitched back to back before the Chicago Cubs accomplished the feat in the first two of this series.
Mike Bolsinger doesn’t have the resume of Kershaw or Greinke, but the Cubs certainly don’t plan to take him lightly.
Chicago looks to move 10 games over .500 for the first time in seven seasons by extending its winning streak to five when it faces the Dodgers on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
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Kershaw and Greinke pitched consecutive games 13 times before the start of this four-game set, and Los Angeles (39-33) had never lost both. The streaking Cubs (39-30) put an end to that run, as Kris Bryant homered twice in Monday’s 4-2 victory before Chris Denorfia’s sacrifice fly in the 10th gave Chicago a 1-0 win Tuesday.
Anthony Rizzo singled and is 8 for 20 with three homers and a double during a five-game hitting streak.
The Cubs improved to 8-3 in extra innings while winning their major league-high 18th one-run game. They haven’t been 10 games over .500 since going 97-64 to win the NL Central in 2008.
”You have to take things. Nobody gives you anything here,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”You’ve got to take things, so I love the way our guys are going about their business.”
Bolsinger (4-2, 2.87 ERA) made his second career start April 24, 2014, at Wrigley Field while with Arizona and allowed an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-2 victory.
The right-hander was traded to the Dodgers in the offseason and had a 2.25 ERA through his first eight starts before allowing five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of Friday’s 9-5 loss to San Francisco.
"The good thing is, it’s self-inflicting things and things I can learn from," Bolsinger said. "It’s not like I’m going out there and getting the snot beat out of me. It’s a learning method. It’s tough, but you learn from it."
Kyle Hendricks (2-3, 4.28) received a difficult lesson in his last start, allowing career worsts of seven runs and 11 hits in five innings of Friday’s 7-2 loss to Minnesota.
The right-hander went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA over his previous five outings.
”To win ballgames you’ve got to pitch well and play defense. That’s pretty clear,” Hendricks said. ”But the first part of that’s pitching well. I can only do what I can, and … you can’t give up 11 hits in five innings.”
Hendricks was much better in his only start against the Dodgers, giving up one earned run and four hits in seven innings of an 8-2 win Aug. 1. Cubs starters have a 0.72 ERA during their winning streak, and Hendricks looks to shut down a Los Angeles team that has dropped eight of 11.
The Dodgers had only three hits Tuesday, with one coming when Yasiel Puig was awarded a triple after Cubs outfielders Mike Baxter and Matt Szczur couldn’t track his shallow fly ball. They’ve scored three runs or fewer eight times during their slump.
Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler didn’t start after spraining his ankle in the series opener, but he walked as a pinch-hitter in the 10th. He’s considered day to day.