Preview: Dodgers Look to Complete Second Consecutive Sweep
The Los Angeles Dodgers overcame a strong start by Jon Lester Saturday night to win their fifth consecutive game and put them on the brink of completing back-to-back three-game series sweeps.
The Dodgers enter play at the top of the division with 72-56 record and four games ahead of the San Francisco Giants, who suffered a second straight loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. Alex Wood (9-8, 3.70 ERA) takes the mound looking to build on one of his more successful outings since being traded to the Dodgers.
He held the Cincinnati Reds to one run on four hits in 5.2 innings and was only removed due to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly’s concern of letting his left-hander face Todd Frazier a third time in the game.
The Chicago Cubs counter with ace Jake Arrieta (16-6, 2.22 ERA), who has been dominant all season and earned a win in his last five starts. In his previous outing, Arrieta recorded eight strikeouts and held the Giants to one run over six innings. His 2.22 ERA ranks third in the Majors and second in the National League, just ahead of Clayton Kershaw, who’s fourth with a 2.24 ERA.
After going heavy on right-handed bats on Saturday, the Dodgers lineup on Sunday is more in line with what’s been seen this season. However, one notable difference is Kiké Hernandez making his first start (in 2015) at third base.
Hernandez spent some time at third during Spring Training and played the position for three games (one start) with the Miami Marlins last season. He also currently has a six-game hitting streak.
With Hernandez being moved out of center field, Joc Pederson makes just his second start in the last week. Chase Utley returns to the lineup, starting at second base and batting second, behind Jimmy Rollins.
Andre Ethier is looking to continue his torrid pace in the August. Over 22 games in the month, his .397 batting average leads the Majors. The hot stretch has improved his overall batting average this season to .299, which is the highest it’s been since 2008.
SS: Jimmy Rollins
2B: Chase Utley
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
RF: Andre Ethier
LF: Carl Crawford
C: Yasmani Grandal
CF: Joc Pederson
3B: Kiké Hernandez
P: Alex Wood
CF: Dexter Fowler
RF: Chris Denorfia
3B: Kris Bryant
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Starlin Castro
LF: Matt Szczur
C: Miguel Montero
P: Jake Arrieta
SS: Addison Russell