The Los Angeles Dodgers open a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.
Thursday, June 13 at 10:10 PM ET
Coverage: MLB Network
Winds from the SSW 8 km/h
The Dodgers are coming off back-to-back 5-3 road losses against the Angels and they will be without star shortstop Corey Seager from four to six weeks because of a Grade 2 strain.
Chris Taylor will have to take over for Seager and step and even though he's clearly struggling, hitting just .218 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 64 games, regular playing time should help him improve those numbers.
Los Angeles has the best record in the National League and a solid lead in the National League West but a member of the bullpen has taken the loss in 13 of their 23 setbacks this season, which is concerning to say the least.
The Cubs come into this potential postseason preview series off a 10-1 road win against the Rockies to avoid a three-game sweep. Chicago is just a half-game behind Milwaukee for first place in the National League Central.
Jon Lester (5-4, 3.56 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
Jon Lester has won his last two starts but he didn't pitch that well against the Cardinals last Saturday, giving up four earned runs on five hits (two home runs) and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings in a 9-4 victory. The left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 10 career starts (one complete game) against the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw suffered his first loss of the season last Friday when he allowed two earned runs on six hits and one walk with four strikeouts over seven innings in a 2-1 setback against the Giants and he is 4-0 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in six home starts. Kershaw is 5-3 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 10 career starts against the Cubs.
The Under is:
4-0-1 in Chicago's last five games during Game 1 of a series
7-3 in Lester's last 10 starts against National League West opponents
22-6-4 in Los Angeles' last 32 home games against a team with a winning record
5-1-1 in Kershaw's last seven home starts against a team with a winning record
7-3-1 in Kershaw's last 11 home starts
5-2-1 in Kershaw's last eight home starts against the Cubs
The Cubs bullpen ranks 15th in the majors with a 4.30 ERA and the Dodgers are near them with a 4.34 ERA (17th) so I'm taking the relievers out of the equation to focus on the total for the first five innings.
MLB Pick: 1st 5 Under 4.5 (-105) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff